Dec 10 - 16, 2012

Despite some domestic issues, fruit and vegetable export from the country during the first four months of current financial year (July to October) registered increase of 4.21 percent and 10.97 percent, respectively.

During the period from July-October 2012 about 120,794 metric tons fresh fruits of different varieties worth US$ 81.48 million exported as compared to the 135,323 metric tons valuing US$ 78.18 million during the same period of last year, reveals data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

As per data, during first four months of current financial year about 65,113 metric tons vegetables costing US$ 31.75 billion exported which was up by 10.97 percent as compared to 106,752 metric tons of US$ 28.6 million during same period of last year.

The export of fruit and vegetables witnessed increase in their exports in dollars term, however, the export in quantity term witnessed reducing trend during last four months of current financial year, the data revealed.

On the other hand, the export of sugar during the period under review recorded 100 percent increase as about 126,819 metric tons of sugar worth US$ 70.29 million exported.

From the period from July-October 2012, the export of meat and meat preparations also increased by 30.64 percent as about 22,836 metric tons of meat and meat preparations valuing US$ 7.37 million exported as compared to 19,062 metric tons worth US$ 59.4 million exports of same period last year, it added.

The data revealed that during the first four months of current financial year the export of all other food items also recorded 30.64 percent increase as against the last year's export.

During the period from July-October country earned US$ 343.26 million by exporting different food commodities where as it was recorded at 328.15 million during same period last year.

Likewise, Pakistan's rice exports to China have risen to about 800,000 tonnes in the year to September 2012 from negligible volumes a year ago, as the grain wins popularity for its taste and low price, traders and industry officials said on Wednesday.

Pakistan has emerged as an important player of food supplies to United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region particularly in rice, meat, poultry, sea food, fruits and vegetables and spices, exporters told PAGE.

They said Pakistan's exports of food products to the UAE have increased to over US$ 500 million and more than US$ 1 billion to the GCC region. However, they underlined a dire need of value addition which can only be achieved by establishing brands in the region and spending on the marketing efforts.

Furthermore, rice is the staple food in the world's second largest economy, and Pakistani rice started making inroads into China in 2011 as a cheaper alternative to domestic and imported rice.

Chinese buyers prefer Pakistani rice over Vietnamese grades, even though it takes longer to arrive, the traders added. China is the world's biggest rice producer and consumer.

"They have liked the taste and aroma of Pakistani white rice and the prices are very attractive," said a trader. "Looking at the demand and prices, we expect Pakistan to become a regular exporter of rice to China."

The price of 5 percent broken Pakistani rice in the Chinese market is around $435 a tonne, including cost and freight, compared with domestic prices of more than $500 a tonne. "Pakistani rice is really competitive in the Chinese market as the freight is notoriously low. It is below $10 a tonne," another trader said.

On the other hand, Pakistan's import of pulses declined by 52 percent or $19.279 million in October this year, as importers are expecting bumper crop in the coming season.

"In October 2011, pulses were over-imported as the local crop had been damaged by the cold frost, resulting in a panic like situation in the country for commodity's shortage," a leading importer said.

The country imported $18.050 million in October this fiscal year as compared to the commodity's import of $37.329 million in Oct last fiscal year, showing a decline of 51.65 percent or $19.279 million, figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

During July-Oct 2012, the country import of pulses went down by 5.33 percent or $7.874 million to $ 139.856 million as compared to the commodity's import of $147.730 million during the same period of the last fiscal year, PBS says.

The country import pulses mainly from Australia, Canada, Burma, Tanzania and Ethiopia.