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Pakistan: Half apple fruit wasted due to lack of infrastructure

Fruit production is not only a profitable enterprise for the growers but also a good source of foreign exchange for the country.

A rich production of fruits can pave the way for installation of processing industries and can ultimately lead to increased employment and promotion of exports of fruits and its products. But there are several hurdles in the efficient functioning of markets particularly agricultural commodity markets such as: lack of infrastructure, poor access to market information, restriction on movement of goods between regions and monopoly over distribution system and lack of regulatory framework for fixing prices told CEO Harvest Tradings while talking to Fresh Plaza.

It is not realized that rectification of market imperfections smoothens the way to attain markets efficiency, which in turn facilitate the attainment of agricultural development and equal distribution of income. Market infrastructure, transportation, communication, credit and storage are all together facilitating smooth functioning of markets; he added.

Much emphasis is given to area and production of apple while relatively little is known about how price transmission takes place on the domestic apple markets. Such information is important for apple producers and other apple value chain role players since it affects their marketing decisions (buying and selling), which in turn affects decisions related to logistical matters and eventually profits realised.

Apple is 85% source of Vitamin A, B, C, Iron and Potassium for the body.

It is apt to write that "an apple a day keeps the Doctor away" and also add to it keeps the old-age away. It is a highly nutritive fruit containing essential food elements such as sugar 11%, fat 0.4%, protein 0.3%, carbohydrates 14.9% and vitamins C, A & B in a balanced form. In America and Europe it is considered as a bottle of vitamins. It ranks third in consumption after citrus and banana and is almost available throughout the year.

The reasons, among others, for low yield of apple were severe drought in some years, post harvest losses, malfunctioning of markets, lack of information on the part of farmers and absence of incentive to producers. Apples produced in the country are used for fresh consumption, with only small quantities used for processing into its products such as apple juice, jelly or jam and/or other products.

Owing to quality and standard crop yield, Pakistan has sufficient potential to penetrate in the world apple market but needs to develop this industry properly; Jawad stressed.

"The world apple export market forms the volume of around 5 million tones per year with France, Chile, Belgium, USA and Netherlands sharing the major chunk," said CEO Harvest Tradings.

He said Pakistan could also get proper share in this market provided it takes measures for the development of apple industry. Baluchistan has 65% of share while Khyber Phaktunkahwa has 25% share. Pakistan is the 10th largest producer in the world and produces 13 lacs and 35 thousand apples every year. In addition of 2 ton apples in every acre we get earn 30 billion rupees.

He said that Iran and China were the regional competitors of Pakistan with regard to apple export, however, apples produced in the country have tremendous potential due to good colour, size, quality, keeping quality, juice contents, crunchiness and aroma.

"So immediate measures are required to tap this potential and penetrate in the world market"  while talking to Apple Growers of Quetta (Baluchistan)

Pakistan’s apple production is likely to fall by 35 percent this year from half a million tons last year, Harvest Tradings chief added.

“The situation is too bad. Apple trees are being cut in Baluchistan because growers are not getting good rates,” he said.

Ahmad Jawad also said Pakistan exports a negligible quantity of apples despite having potential of penetrating into the world apple market of 5 million tons.

Proper facility of enhancing cosmetic look of apples after washing and waxing and enhancing their shelf life would boost their exports from Baluchistan; he added

Ahmad Jawad emphasized the government of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should call a conference to devise a comprehensive strategy for growth in apple exports.

He further said that Pakistan’s share in the world apple market was almost negligible. Pakistan had significant share in export of only mango and kinnow.

The government established Quetta Apple Grading Plant through the Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) in August 2008, said Jawad. “But this plant is closed now and Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company is looking again for any investor who may run this plant.”

Jawad urged that the government should promote information and develop communication within markets. To accomplish better integrated markets, infrastructural facilities should be provided by the government to the targeted markets. The government should also facilitate the environment that encourages the limited role of middlemen who earns money with out any stake.

M. Farooq Azam
Harvest Tradings-Pakistan
Ph: (92-306) 8689999, (92-51) 8084433

Publication date: 11/21/2011


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