Pakistan: Fruit processing units needed to boost exports

Although Pakistan produces more than 30 varieties of fruit, including citrus, mango, apple and banana, only a small fraction is exported due to a lack of storage and processing facilities. Hence, fruit exporters have called upon the government to establish fruit processing plants, especially in rural areas, to boost fruit exports. They have also asked for government support in establishing fresh fruit grading and packing facilities to improve their export prospects.

Addressing a seminar, Harvest Tradings Director and former FPCCI Standing Committee chairman Ahmad Jawad said the government should introduce the latest fruit processing technology in the country in collaboration with public-private partnerships, to capture a better market share of fruit products in Russia, Europe, Central Asian States and other world markets.

Jawad also said that not only will the facilities help the country achieve food security but billions of dollars would be earned through the export of value added products, adding that the first step in this direction is to save the 40 percent produce that is wasted before reaching the market.

"This happens due to the absence of farm-to-market roads, highly inadequate transport and storage facilities.''

He quoted that the export of mango and kinnow had remained far below its potential because the fruits could not be processed according to the requirements of importing countries, regardless these two fruits are produced in huge quantities and even after export substantial quantities are leftover.

"One of the best approaches could be to produce pulp and concentrated juices of these fruits, pack these and ensure availability throughout the year.''

However, the average yield of different crops in Pakistan is nearly half of the yield achieved globally. "The key reasons for this poor yield are: deficiency of nutrients in cultivable land, inadequate supply of irrigation water and bad crop management."


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