Traders cut kinnow export target on low yield, quality

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SOURCEThe News
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KARACHI: Traders have set a kinnow export target for the current year at 325,000 tons, which is 50,000 tons less as compared to last year, owing to low competitiveness, mounting cost of production, and lack of quality fruit, a statement said on Thursday.

“Due to high cost of citrus fruit production and a stiff competition from countries like Turkey, Morocco, and other big producers, Pakistan is struggling to claim its fair share in the global markets,” Waheed Ahmed, Patron-in-Chief, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA), said in a statement.

The export of kinnow is due to commence from December 1, 2018.

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Ahmed said the kinnow production was expected to be around 2.0 million tons; however due to limited availability of good export quality fruit, the target had been curtailed for this year.

A record export volume of 375,000 tons was attained last year, fetching a foreign exchange of $200 million, while with the current export volume of 325,000 tons, the country is expected to earn around $180 million.

The PFVA official said devaluation of rupee had lost its favorable impact due to upward revision of freight charges by the shipping companies, rise in cost of packing material, and substantial increase in local transportation charges.

Also Read: Pakistan export record 370,000 tons of Kinnow during 2017-18 season

“With an increase of Rs100, the cost of purchase has become Rs800/maund (40kg) this year,” he said.

He said Russia, Indonesia, Gulf, and Middle Eastern countries were big importers of Pakistani kinnow, while Iran had also been a big buyer; however this is the seventh consecutive season that Pakistan was facing a ban on the import-export of kinnow by the government of Iran.

“Iran is an international market with a capacity to import 80,000 tons to 100,000 tons of Pakistani kinnow, but they have not imported this citrus from the country for several years now,” Ahmed said.

He further said though Russia was a big market of Pakistani kinnow, but Pakistan was facing a cut-throat competition from Morocco and Turkey in that market.

Ahmed said the collective export of citrus fruit and value-added products could be enhanced to one billion dollars within five years, but to attain this target, it was imperative to grow new varieties of citrus fruits through extensive research and development besides ensuring the kinnow was free from all diseases and to increase its per acre yield by setting up new orchards.

“The province of Punjab, being a hub of kinnow production, has not paid any serious attention, while making the plea of 18th amendment, the federal government has also ignored issue of kinnow industry,” he lamented.

He said due to the poor quality and various diseases, Pakistan had been unable to take advantage of the gigantic international markets of China and Europe.

“However this scenario is changing due to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, which allows access to big Chinese market. Now it is anticipated that China would become a big buyer of Pakistani kinnow,” PFVA official said.

He added that by acquiring technology from China, production of kinnow and other fruits could be substantially enhanced.

(This news/article originally appeared in The News on November 30th, 2018)

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