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Pakistan: Agribusiness fund doubles kinnow exports

An agricultural business support initiative has enabled fruit growers to attain internationally recognised certification, that allows access to new markets and boosts incomes.

The Agribusiness Support Fund, a not-for-profit company, was established by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in 2006, under the $18 million, Asian Development Bank (ADB) supported Agribusiness Development and Diversification Project.

"ADB’s assistance to the Agribusiness Support Fund was part of a broader project to diversify and develop the agribusiness sector in Pakistan and to improve the lives of small-scale farmers, among others," says Donneth A. Walton, principal natural resources management specialist at ADB’s Pakistan Resident Mission. Walton adds, "The fund spurred many successful agribusiness initiatives including improvement in citrus exports."

According to Chaudhry Amjad Nisar, senior vice president of the All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association, the accreditation process also impacts how fruits are handled after they are picked.

"Thanks to the fund," says Nisar, "our capacity in collection, grading, packing, storage, and transportation has improved to international standards."

Without the certification much of the kinnow cultivation would be restricted to Asian and Middle Eastern markets, which attract lower prices.

As a result of the drive for more internationally recognised accreditation, Pakistan has nearly doubled its exports of kinnow to Europe since 2008-2009.

The fund has also allowed kinnow growers to market their produce internationally ans to take part in exhibitions in Berlin, Hong Kong, China and Moscow.

The fund’s work continues with $90 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Source: www.onlinenews.com.pk

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