As winter starts, our favorite fruit kinnow is seen at every fruit stall in Pakistan. Luckily, the country has a large number of farms which are processing superior quality kinnows according to the globally recognized standards. No doubt, the kinnow is a variety of citrus fruit cultivated extensively in Pakistan’s Punjab region since 1940 after Punjab Agriculture College and Research Institute, Faisalabad.
A majority of Pakistan’s production comes from the Sargodha region where the fruits are produced and processed. It is calculated that there are approximately 200 processing units for kinnow mandarins in Pakistan, the majority of which are placed in Kot Momin, Balwal, Sargodha, Lalian (Chiniot), Shahpur and Silla Wali adding that the country has reigned supremacy in the industry for a long time, with little competition from other countries and strong government support of producing, processing and exporting.
Experts also said that the demand for seedless kinnow stays high, particularly in the West, but unluckily the country does not produce such varieties. It is suggested that, to increase the exports Pakistani farmers should start seedless kinnow production so that exporters could be able to penetrate European Union markets and introduce new varieties, which would fetch good rates in the existing markets. Pakistan’s major exports to Indonesia include textiles and clothing, vegetables and fruits (mainly oranges). Furthermore, Indonesia offers zero-rated market access to kinnow and oranges from Pakistan, offering a level-playing field to this product in the Indonesian market. However, Pakistani exporters face tough competition in Indonesia as regional states also export fruits to Indonesia on low duties because of the agreements among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trading block.
It is also said that Russia will be the recipient of 30-40 percent of these fruits. The current season has affected our production and our demand. The weather in the Gulf region is a bit hotter than usual, which has caused the demand for our larger sized mandarins to grow. This has left us with a situation where our production is unable to keep up with our demand. Pakistani kinnow mandarins are on the verge of a breakthrough in the Far East. Indonesia has presently opened up its market to our products. The Indonesian government has permitted the importation of Pakistani mandarins as of December 1, 2017.
All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporter, Importer and Merchant Association (PFVA) proclaimed that that the export of kinnow started in December last year and the export target during the present year has been set at 250,000 tons. The kinnow sector is experiencing numerous challenges in the export of kinnow which led to a consistent fall in exports since the year 2014-15. 375,000 tons of kinnow was exported last year 2014-15. However, even the export target of 300,000 tons could not be attained during last year’s season being limited only to only 280,000 tons. The association also mentioned that the production of kinnow during the present season is anticipated to be between 1,900,000 tons to 2,000,000 tons. This year expected export volume is 4 to 5 metric ton out of total production that is 20 -22 LAC metric ton.
Citrus Research Institute Sargodha (CRIS) also mentioned that the kinnows export have risen during the current season because of expected bumper crop and the best quality production. CRIS also urged that around 200 different varieties of citrus were available at the CRIS and new techniques were also being introduced among growers to improve the production and quality. The CRIS was making all-out attempts to enhance the quality of citrus and special attention was also being paid to seedless kinnow production, which had great demand across the globe, besides strengthening the nationwide economy.
Kinnows in Pakistan and India
The experts recorded that the demand for Pakistani oranges has dropped in overseas markets such as Egypt, India and Turkey have started producing seedless kinnows. Kinnows are mainly produced in both Indian and Pakistan’s Punjab that are being imported by dealers. However, kinnows from Pakistan, according to dealers, are more in demand because of their firm skin, deep orange texture, exotic aroma and being more juicy. In comparison to Indian kinnows, demand for Pakistani kinnows is more in the market.
Experts urged that there is a little difference between Pakistani kinnows and Indian kinnows. Kinnows from Pakistan are well polished, have more juice than their Indian counterparts. It is recorded that the price is planned by conditions – if condition is bad price will be high. I cannot mention here anything about prices because prices keep on changing depending upon the production and demand. But, the exporters supply two kinds of Pakistani kinnows to Kashmir through LoC (Line of Control). One is normal quality and the other is export quality, and, there is a difference of Rs70 to 80 between the two.
No doubt, kinnow or kinno is a unique hybrid of two varieties of California oranges having a soft skin which is easy to peel with an attractive fragrance. This fruit is very delicious in taste and if waxed properly and carefully stored can retain their freshness for 2 months. Pakistani kinnows are in demand as against to Indian ones as they vary in taste. Pakistani kinnows have made their place in every corner of Kashmir as well. Its business has also reduced unemployment rate in the country.