11 - 17, 2011

The country's vegetable export is thriving, as during the last eight months of current financial year (2010-11), it registered an increase of almost 50 percent.

The surge in the country's export shows that Pakistan can fetch substantial forex through export of vegetables. Pakistan produces more than 40 types of fruit and varieties of vegetables, which are highly demanded across the globe for their enriched natural taste and freshness.

The vegetable export increased by 49.42 percent during the period from July-February 2010-11 as about 201,621 metric tons vegetables of different varieties worth of US$ 89.31 million were exported as against 468,767 metric tons vegetables costing US$17.52 million during the corresponding period of the last year.

Fruit export from the country also witnessed an increase of 1.21 percent during the period under review as about 308,635 metric tons fruits were exported which added about US$17.74 million in national foreign exchange reserves. The government must establish a cold storage and packing store for mangoes in mango producing areas.

As per data released by the Federal Bureau of Statistic (FBS), vegetable export during month of February 2011 registered an increase of 137.18 percent as compared to the same month of last year whereas the country exported about 48,755 metric tons vegetable during the period under review and earned US$2.05 million.

The fruit export during the month of February 2011 increased by 58.42 percent as compared to the same month of last year, as 47,700 metric tons fruit costing US$2.79 million were exported.

The export of leguminous vegetables (pulses) registered tremendous increase in last eight months of current financial year as about 418 metric tons of pulses were exported and fetched US$188,000 as against 37 metric tons worth US$33,000 of same period of last year.

Experts believe that export of these commodities could be enhanced by facilitating the growers for use of modern techniques and preventing the post harvest losses as well as establishing cold chains and storage facilities in the country.

They maintained that value addition of the agriculture products could help increase exports and earn maximum foreign exchange for the country. In order to promote exports and reduce imports, it is imperative that there is a continuous development in the agriculture sector and the exports potential can be further realized by value addition of agriculture products, they said. According to them, the agriculture value added products would be locomotive for export in future.

According to President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Shahzad Ali Malik, Pakistan is a big exporter of rice and by producing value added by-products of rice, the country can earn extra amount of billions of rupees.

He urged the government to bring basic research for hybrid rice seed in the country, which could enhance the production capacity up to 100 maunds per acre, which is double in quantity as compared to IRRI rice.

He expressed the hope that in the coming years they would have a lot of value addition in rice industry. He said that Rice Bran Oil is a costly oil which is being consumed widely in many developed countries but unfortunately we are not availing this opportunity of earning more foreign exchange by producing rice bran oil. He, however, said that measures are being taken to import machinery for producing rice bran oil in Pakistan and very soon the country would also become exporter of the oil.