Opportunities for Pakistani kinnow exporters
Director Harvest Tradings, Ahmad Jawad says that Pakistani exporters expect to fetch $200m to $ 225m this season, up from about $175m last year, as they see a real boost in orders from Indonesian market.
Kinnow exports to Indonesia surged last year after a mutual recognition agreement on sanitary and phyto sanitary measures for agricultural products became effective.
Besides this, the waiver of customs duty on purchase of Pakistani kinnow under the preferential trade agreement (PTA) should continue to boost exports to Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the recent Russian move to ban imports of fruits and vegetables from the US and the EU is also fuelling optimism among kinnow exporters; Jawad believes that the ban would eventually benefit fruit and vegetable exporters of Pakistan and other asian nations.
Last year, Russia had lifted the ban it had imposed earlier on Pakistani kinnow fruit, but only after the export season had already peaked. Exporters anticipate a real rise this season.
However Pakistan is also expecting larger orders of kinnows from Indonesia, Malaysia, UAE, Saudi Arabia and other GCC nations because of improved processing, grading and packaging
After the successful launching of mango farm tracking earlier this year, Pakistan is now replicating this initiative with citrus fruits. Officials began surveying kinnow farms in Punjab back in early October. The survey is aimed at identifying the farms eligible for certification and standardisation for EU markets.
Moreover, a higher projected production of 2.1-2.2m tonnes, up slightly from last year, is sure to enhance export volumes.
Despite this optimism, the production of citrus fruits is facing some structural problems that, if unresolved, would make sustainable export growth difficult.
Average production rose to 2.1m tonnes during 2006-2010, up from 1.83m tonnes during 2001-2005, mainly due to an expansion in the area under cultivation. But for the past three years, output has remained at just around 2m tonnes.
Pakistani growers are complaining that despite declaring horticulture an industry, policymakers have paid little attention to its development. They say that unlike other industries and major sub-sectors of agriculture, horticulturists have very little access to bank financing.
Last year, citrus fruits were exported at an average price of less than $200 per tonne. Trade Development Authority of Pakistan officials say this price is far lower than the average export price of other citrus fruits produced by countries like Egypt, Morocco and Spain. Egyptian oranges, for example, fetch $400 per tonne.
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