Government of Pakistan is expecting a 20% increase in citrus exports this year as two new international markets Philippines and China are open to local oranges, food minister Mehboob Sultan has said.
“It is very heartening to note that Pakistan has targeted China and Philippines markets for kinnow exports,” Sultan said. “Last year Pakistan exported 30,000 tonnes kinnow to Indonesia. It is the second biggest market after Russia.”
The country fetched more than $220mn through exporting 370,000 tonnes of citrus to 58 countries from December 2017 to May 2018, up 14% over the corresponding period a year earlier.
Minister for National Food Security and Research was visiting a citrus export processing unit in Sargodha, an official statement said.
“We have best farmers, agriculture marketing experts at our disposal, but ironically we could not achieve desired results,” he said. “There is a lack of administration or management of channelling those resources.” Sultan said the country is facing many challenges internationally.“European Union and other developed countries of the world are erecting barriers for agro exports from Pakistan. America, Australia, Japan, Korea and even few central Asian countries are not importing Pakistani kinnow anymore and those who are importing are not paying attractive exchange.”
The food minister said the world is setting new standards, which are difficult and costly.
“We are in dire need of self-accountability,” he added. “All we need to do is to follow the principles of integrated management and good agro products and if we don’t move ahead in that direction then we are betraying our future generations.”
The minister said citrus is facing two problems: citrus canker and citrus graining, which are detrimental to exports and European Union, Australia and America banned the export from countries where these diseases in citrus fruit are reported.
“The time is testing but we have to work in collaboration to continue to stay part of international trade and we have to adopt new methods and bring our production in line with SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) standards defined by WTO (World Trade Organisation).”
The minister urged all the stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive plan containing proposals for facilities of inspection of diseases, disease control programme, nurseries for disease free saplings, observance of good agricultural practices and integrated pest management standards and access to new and profitable international markets.
“We believe in ease of doing business and hence our ministry has established facilitation centre in Bhalwal, where department of plant protection’s inspectors would facilitate exporters regarding inspection and issuance of SPS certificate.”
Sultan hoped that food experts and economists could work out a viable solution for food self-sufficiency. “Through quality exports Pakistan could access lucrative international markets,” he added. “Pakistan is blessed with one of the best natural agro resources.
Pakistan stands unique in production of certain agricultural crops.
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