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Pakistan: Rains devastate 20-25% orange crop

Recent winter rain in Sargodha Division, like elsewhere across the country, has caused substantial devastation of orange crop, which is 20 to 25 percent of the standing yield, pushing up rates of the most desired fruit of the winter season.

The rain was unexpected as it took growers and farmers by surprise in terms of their lack of preparedness causing them considerable financial losses amounting to millions of rupees.

The other alarming feature of the ruining of the orange crop was its high rates, which had adverse impact on the export of the fruit across the globe.

Following impact of the devastation of the orange spread over large areas of the Sargodha Division regarded as one of the most productive areas across the world in terms of kinnow production, the prices have surged to the level of Rs 550 per 40 kg compared to previous weeks rates of Rs 350 per 40 kg, indicating an increase of up to Rs 200 per 40 kg of the fruit.

Similarly export rates also went up to 75 percent per kg compared to old rates of 60 percent for the same weight dampening spirit of importers from across the globe, especially Russia and Ukraine regarded as major importers of Pakistani fruit.

Above all, as claimed by some leading exporters of the fruit, the rhythm of the export was disrupted in the wake of increase in the price of orange, which was previously proceeding at brisk pace.

Abdul Wahid, former Chairman All Pakistan Vegetable and Fruit Exporters Association, responding to a query of the scribe acknowledged about the adverse impact the winter rain caused on the smooth export process spurred by surging prices of the fruit.

Citing instances in this regard, he claimed after recent lifting of ban by the Iran on Kinnow import from Pakistan, there were high hopes that previous years target of 55000 metric tonnes would be accomplished with ease, however, since the lifting of ban some two to three weeks ago, the pace has not been up to the expectations of exporters.

Furthermore, the soaring orange price was another major deterrent factor that contributed towards decline in kinnow export to Iran despite the fact Iranians are regarded as fruit loving nation. It was also observed that buying power of Iranians have plunged considerably causing immense financial losses to Pakistanís exporters.

In view of these problems, which have emerged during the current season, the countryís export is likely to remain within 1,75,000 metric tonnes to 2,00,000 tonnes, which is short of set goals.

He said, with kicking off export of kinnow at brisk pace during the month of November, the exporters had pinned hopes of surpassing 200,000 tonnes goal but unexpected hurdles during later part of the season, dashed all such expectations.


Publication date: 2/15/2010


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