S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst, PAGE
Dec 7 - 13, 2009
Pakistan's diverse climate provides a breeding ground for fruits cultivation in all the four seasons year-round in all provinces. High value fruit such as apples, mangoes, guavas, dates, citrus, kinnos, peaches, and grapes are grown on thousands of hectares of land across Pakistan.
Even small agricultural villages in Balochistan and Sindh are producing some of the world's finest fruit such as chikoos, papayas, bananas, coconuts etc. Pakistan's fruit is pulpy, juicy, vitamin-rich, and fragrant.
It is compatible with foreign varieties in both quality and prices. Pakistan has earned US$ 161.983 million by fruits' export during last eleven months, an up of 11.13 percent over US$145.766 million in the same period last year.
About 490,263 metric tons of fruits were exported during July 2008 to June 2009 as compared to 411,246 metric tons during the same period last year.
FRUIT EXPORTS FROM PAKISTAN
(value in 000 $ )
COUNTRY INCREASE (JULY-JUNE)
COUNTRY DECREASE (JULY-JUNE)
COUNTRY 2008-09 2007-08 VAR. COUNTRY 2008-09 2007-08 VAR. India 39,736 34,335 5,401 U.A.E. 15,912 21,616 (5,704) Afghanistan 27,639 3,342 24,297 U.K. 10,758 11,657 (899) Russian fed. 9,856 8,134 1,722 Iran 10,534 18,541 (8,007) Germany 7,562 4,594 2,968 Saudi Arabia 8,996 10,258 (1,262) U.S.A. 2,950 2,404 546 Ukraine 1,943 3,856 (1,913) Bangladesh 1,750 1,475 275 Oman 1,843 2,424 (581) Kuwait 1,588 1,428 160 Italy 1,294 1,457 (163) China 1,147 549 598 Netherlands 1,282 2,114 (832) France 1,018 354 664 Qatar 1,261 1,452 (191) Sri Lanka 876 863 13 Canada 1,218 1,610 (392) Var: Variation
Pakistan exported a record 1,27,000 tons mango last fiscal year fetching valuable foreign exchange. The previous record of mango export from the country was 1,20,000 tons.
According to Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Company (PHDEC), last year only 70,000 tons mangoes were exported.
One of the reasons, which led to breaking the record, has been 25 percent increase in average export price over last year.
According to Fruits and Vegetables Exporters' Association, new markets like China and Jordan, along with traditional markets of Gulf countries played a role in helping Pakistan cross the target.
Pakistan is the sixth largest producer of Kinnow (mandarin) and oranges in the world, with 2.5 million tones production. It is estimated that the country may have a record export of 270,000 tonnes of kinnows this year.
(value in 000 $ )
. 2008-09 2007-08 Kinnow fresh 45,044 52,916 Dates dried 40,924 32,925 Mangoes 29,213 27,765 Dates fresh 3,267 3,108 Apple, fresh 846 9
Grown primarily in the plains of Punjab, Kinnow orchards are mainly located in Sargodha, Mianwali, Multan, Khushab, Mandi Bahauddin, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Layyah, and Bhalwal districts of Punjab.
Kinnow season in Pakistan starts in mid-November and extends normally up to April. Other varieties of oranges, including malta, musammi and fruiter alone contribute 25 percent of the total production of citrus fruits.
There are around 200 Kinnow processing units in the country and most of these were established quite recently and are contributing a lot in enhancing the quality of Kinnow for export purposes.
SHORTAGE OF COLD STORAGE
Owing to non-availability and lack of cold storage facilities, more than 30 percent of exportable fruits perish before reaching their destinations. Several efforts have been made by fruit exporters to draw attention of the government towards this growing problem, but to no avail.
The non-responsive attitude of the concerned government departments is adding to the miseries of exporters and growers alike. Oranges and mangoes are considered traditionally as most demanding fruits in the foreign markets. However, non-availability of cold chain system at fruits farms, Karachi Port and airports and required cooling temperature (which is 3 to 4 degree centigrade) for maintaining freshness of the exportable fruits, has served as a snag in export growth and catalyst of perishability.
With the passage of time, rate of fruit perishability is growing mainly because of global environmental changes.
The government generates substantial revenue annually from fruit exports by means of levying 0.75 percent withholding tax. The fund is diverted to nowhere instead of being utilized for establishment of cold storage facilities.
Lack of cold storage facilities results in evaporation of juices from the fruits and deterioration of their skin rendering them undesirable for the buyers.
A 10- kg carton of citrus fruits of Australia and Morocco fetches an average $20 in the international market as against $ 5 to $ 7 of same weight Pakistani fruit does.
Also, growers do not get due price of their produce, which is regarded as a major factor in decline in the local yield.
Pakistani fruits can slice a big market share in foreign markets and exporters must vie for it by adopting international standards. The government should also help them by creating infrastructure like building packaging houses, modern grading facilities, and common facility centers.