Experts are expecting Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to give freight subsidy on exports of fruits and vegetables, hoping for a significant boost to foreign inflows to be the result.
Ikhtiyar Baig, senior vice president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said currently cost of logistics is high and due to which local fruits and vegetables have become noncompetitive in the international market.
“In a meeting with PIA Managing Director Arshad Mahmood Malik we had requested freight subsidy for fruits and vegetables export, to which he had expressed his agreement,” Baig said, addressing a seminar. “Air freight subsidy would certainly multiply exports,” he added.
At present, exports of fruits and vegetables contribute around 3 percent ($651 million) to total annual exports of $22.9 billion from the agriculture economy. Fruit exports amounted to $415.978 million, while vegetable exports stood at $234.845 million in FY2019, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics’ data showed. FPCCI said freight subsidy on fruits and vegetables would enhance exports.
Muhammad Ashraf, chief executive officer of Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) said around 103,000 tons of mangoes have already been exported this season, while exports would surpass 120,000 tons.
“Pakistan exported record 103,000 tons of mango in 2011, and this season all previous records have been broken,” Ashraf told thenews.com.pk. The latest exports did not include unofficial trade with Iran and Afghanistan. Last year, mango exports stood at 80,000 tons. Exports are, however, still low given the annual mango production of 1.7 million tons.