Export potential is yet to be
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Aug 30 - Sep 05, 1999
Pakistan produces 600 million tonnes of a large variety of fruits and
500 million tonnes of vegetables every year. However, 30 per cent of that goes waste due
to lack of proper transportation, packaging storage and refrigeration facilities.
Although optimum level of benefit of these natural resources has yet to
be achieved, the volume of production is growing every year as the area under cultivation
has been increased by manifold. The ever growing demand of Pakistani fruits and vegetables
suggests that there is a need to further increase productivity, introduction of new
varieties of fruits and vegetables to maintain affordable prices at home and to get
Apart from exports of traditional items like mango, kino which have
earned a prominent place in the export sector, Pakistani dates also have potential to
contribute to our export earnings respectably.
Pakistan is the 5th largest producer of dates with an estimated
production volume of 583,000 tonnes out of which 403,584 tonnes is produced in
Balochistan. The date producing areas in Balochistan are Turbat 235,344 tonnes, Panjgoor
128,070 tonnes, Gwadar 14,650 tonnes, Khuzdar 6,488 tonnes and Kharan 13,317 tonnes.
Mazawati, Begum Jangi, Dashtiari, Haleni, Jamsober, Rabi, Sabzo and Gokna are the known
varieties of dates produced in Pakistan.
The global production of dates is estimated at 4,834,000
Currently Pakistan is earning about $27 million annually by exporting
60,905 tonnes of dates against the total productions of 583,000 tonnes of dates indicating
enough room to increase volume of export in this sector.
Pakistani dates have already made a place in the countries like India,
Dubai, USA, Bangladesh, Germany, Indonesia, Canada, UK, Australia and Nepal. India is the
largest importer of Pakistani dates.
The Export Promotion Bureau is of the view that Pakistani dates have
the potential to increase export earnings from current $27 million dollars to at least
$250 million a year with a slight more efforts.
Like other products, dates are also exported in bulk without carrying a
brand name or label. Since modern marketing techniques have not been used for introducing
the most delicious dates produced in some parts of Sindh and Balochistan, we are not
getting the real value of our dates in the international market.
Currently the exporters are getting a price of $468 per tonne in the
world market which is at least five time less than what the established marketing
companies of other countries. For instance Algeria, which is also a major date producing
country, is earning $3,500 per tonne of their products as compared to $468 of Pakistani
dates in the export market. The only difference between Pakistani dates and dates of other
countries is branded packaging. Earlier, multinational companies operating from Pakistan
had earned a respectable place for Pakistani dates by selling them under the brand name of
"Lipton" which helped Pakistani dates to capture the entire US market. For
promotion of dates export from Pakistan brand names having a repute in the world market
can be franchised.
Realizing the export potential in this sector, the Export Promotion
Bureau is seriously considering to construct mettled roads between date producing areas in
Balochistan especially in Turbat and Pasni and an exclusive mini port in Balochistan to
give access to date exports to Persian Gulf countries. A ferry service between Karachi and
Turban and also between Turbat and Gulf countries for marketing dates and other products
is also under consideration. Setting up of an EPB office at Pasni to facilitate the
exports from coastal areas is also being considered.