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Fruit, vegetable exports reach Rs 10.22 billion in five years

KARACHI (February 03 2008): Due to infrastructure development in horticulture sector the country`s fruit and vegetable exports have witnessed an upsurge of 59.75 percent or Rs 3.826 billion as it reach to Rs 10.22 billion during the last five years.

According to official statistics, during fiscal year (FY) 2006-07 the country`s fruit and vegetable exports had stood at Rs 10.22 billion as compared to 6.403 billion in FY 2002-03, registering an increase of Rs 3.826 billion or 59.75 percent.

`The upward trend was due to infrastructure development in the horticulture sector coupled with a remarkable increase in overall production of fruits and vegetables,` Mohammad Iqbal, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Pakistan Horticulture Development and Exports Board (PHDEB) told Business Recorder on Saturday via phone.

Signing bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with various countries was another contributing factor in boosting exports from Pakistan, the COO PHDEB added.

Marking a persistent upward trend from FY 2002-03 Pakistan`s fruit and vegetable exports had touched Rs 7.391 billion figure during FY 2003-04, Rs 6.653 billion during FY 2004-05 and Rs 9.265 billion in FY 2005-06, statistics show.

`Since 2002 we have had various trade-oriented developments like signing FTAs with Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia and Early Harvest Program with Indonesia and grabbing new international markets for our fruits and vegetable products like Russia, Iran etc,` he said.

Establishment of the PHDEB, as a specialised organisation for developing the horticulture sector by introducing various reforms/improvements throughout the supply chain, from farms to market level, had also brought fruitful results, Iqbal said.

`We have got EurepGap certification for around 2000 acres of land in our mango orchards, which has automatically been certified by the new quarantine standard Global GAP from January 1, 2008,` said the PHDEB official.

He said that an overall improvement in communication network and pack-houses had also put fascinating impression on the country`s fruit and vegetable exports. Promulgation of new laws on weight standardisation and fixation of time for mango exports was another factor, which could be counted in this regard, Iqbal recalled.

`The new laws have given our mango produces an authentic standing in the European markets and we should replicate them in other markets as well,` he proposed.

Iqbal said the government was focusing on value-addition of mango, citrus, dates, potato and onion, which are the country`s major exportable items. `Non-traditional crops like floriculture, apples, grapes etc are also being focused for improvement,` he added. He said it was a good omen that fruits and vegetables` growers and exporters had adopted a qualitative approach.

On future projection, the COO said the country was likely to fetch around $240 million in the next two years, as the entire infrastructure was supportive. `US imports 41 percent of world`s mango and it can be a big market for Pakistani mango in future if we meet their quarantine standards,` he added.

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