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Policy evolved to facilitate horticulture sector

KARACHI (February 07 2008): The federal government has evolved a policy to facilitate horticulture sector with a view to increase its exports share in the international market.

Sources in Planning and Development department told Business Recorder on Wednesday that out of more than $70 billion international trade of fruits and vegetables; Pakistan`s share was only $120 million, annually.

Sources said that government has evolved a policy to facilitate horticulture sector aimed at enhancing the production of fruits, vegetables and other horticultural crops in the country.

They said that Pakistan`s horticulture exports fetch a less price than many other countries. Pakistani mangoes are exported at $158 per ton while the same quantity is exported by Mexico at $685, Philippine $875, Brazil $830, India $500 and Thailand $586, sources added.

`Similarly, per ton value of Pakistani dates is $430. However, Tunisia gets $2,251 for per ton, Libya $2,000, China $1,350 and Italy $5,000,` they maintained.

Sources said that most of the horticultural crops in Pakistan have short shelf life and are of low quality in terms of their suitability for processing, hence the post harvest losses reach upto Rs 50 billion per annum, which is around 40 percent of the total production. Due to non-standardised nursery plants, non-availability of disease free seeds, poor management and poor cultural practices, post harvest losses are increasing, constantly, sources added.

They said that poor quality packaging and limited cold storages were also the major hurdles in enhancing the export of horticultural crops. `Due to improper certification facilities for organic horticulture crops, we are unable to attract premium prices in the international market. Therefore, the department has evolved a policy and sent it to the concerned authority,` sources said.

According to the evolved policy, cold storages would be established at all major production areas besides transport, having refrigeration facility would also be provided to minimise the harvest losses during transportation, they added.

Sources informed that the government was also considering to develop disease and insect resistant hybrid seeds and new varieties for vegetables and flowers with longer shelf lives and process suitability.

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