Feb 13 - 19, 20

The food group exports from the country during the first half of current financial year increased by 17.58 percent as compared to the exports in the same period last year.

As per data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), during the period from July-December 2011, the country earned US$1.88 billion by exporting the food commodities including rice, fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and other edible items. Fruit export from the country during first six months of the current financial year registered an increase of 8.94 percent as compared with the same period of last year.

In July-December 2011, about 219,704 metric tons fruit of different varieties worth US$144.714 million were exported as compared to the export of 289,886 metric tons worth US$132.83 million. However, the export of vegetables was decreased by 5.81 percent as about 131,455 metric tons vegetables worth US$ 39.911 million were exported as against 107,522 metric tons of US$ 42.37 million during the same period of last year.

Meanwhile, the export of leguminous vegetables (pulses) witnessed 100 percent increase during the first half of the financial year 2011-12. The export of leguminous vegetable was recorded at 2,720 metric tons.

The rice export in first half of FY 2011-12 remained on declining track as rice export dropped 10.69 percent.

Meat and meat preparations exports rose 23.33 percent as about 28,097 metric tons of meat and meat products were exported in the first six months and added US$85.7 million to foreign reserves.

The other food commodities, which registered growth during the period under review included fish and fish preparations, wheat, tobacco, spices oil seed, nuts and kernels.

Sources claimed that Pakistan is making efforts to double its food export to the UAE by adding value to its products and by establishing brands. The country could immensely benefit due to its regional proximity and for its low unit price of food export items as compared to other competing countries.

According to them, exports of food products to gulf cooperation council (GCC) region stand at one billion dollar and the UAE's share is around 50 percent of the total bill.

Pakistan has emerged as an important player of food supplies to the UAE and gulf region.

According to a research, the GCC states will spend $53.1 billion by 2020 on food imports to feed its growing population. This region spent $25.8 billion on food imports last year, depending heavily on imports of agriculture and food products. Food consumption in GCC is expected to rise at a rate of 4.6 per cent annually between 2011-15 and reach 51.5 million tonnes per year during this period.