Safe exports to EU

Published: April 22, 2014

Govt asked to implement protocol suggested by PFVA


KARACHI: Alarmed by the recent moves of European Union for ensuring import of quality fruits/vegetables, Pakistani exporters have suggested the government for strict monitoring of mango exports this year.

Through a protocol set in the light of recently held meeting with Ministry of National Food Security and Research on export of mango to EU market this year, exportersí representative body, Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) has asked the ministry to take measures suggested by PFVA for safe exports to EU during the forth coming season.

PFVA, through the protocol sent to the ministry, has asked that only those exporters who are ready to comply with these Protocols must be allowed to export to the EU. Following measures have been suggested in the Protocol:

Protocols for procurement of fruit from farms:

It must be ensured that mangoes will be procured from orchards which are better managed and in this connection following guidelines must be followed:

- Orchard should not be heavily infested with pests and diseases. (e.g: fruit fly, hopper, anthracnose, alternaria, stem end rot etc).

- Beginning now (April) proper and documented spray, hygiene, and control measures are put in place. (Integrated Pest Management).

- The orchards from where the fruit for EU will be procured should be available for the inspection of the expert committee of Department of Plant Protection (DPP), and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), if so required.†

- Make instant installation of pheromone traps in farms, from where the exporters are going to buy mango and are dependent for purchase. This will help in two ways: Firstly, it will trap the male fruit flies, thus reduce the population of insect to some extent, and secondly it will enable the exporters to monitor the severity of infestations in farms. This will help them to categorize the farms on the basis of severity and to analyze the potential of exports of those fruits.

- Start spray of insecticides to control fruit fly, but instruction should be given to farmers to maintain the post harvest interval (PHI) as prescribed by the manufacturers and ensure that the active ingredient is allowed in EU.

- Exporters must initiate to facilitate the farmers for Global G.A.P certification in this season on true and honest grounds. The protocols of Global G.A.P must be followed properly.

Protocols for pack house operations:

- It must be ensured by the exporter to exclude the sap, bruise, deformed shaped and external injuries effected fruits when preparing for a shipment to the EU. These injuries and marks affect the quality and also make a possibility of rejection by the EU due to the suspected infestation. The minimum tolerance level of grading and sizing must meet the EU marketing standard for mangoes.

- Criteria for the preparation and handling of shipment must be in accordance with the appropriate section of the recommended international code of practice general principles of food hygiene and the other relevant code of hygienic practice for fresh fruits and vegetables, and other relevant Codex texts such as Codes of Hygienic Practice and Codes of Practice.

- Fruit must be packed in each container in compliance with the recommended international code of practice for packaging and transport of fresh fruits and vegetables.

- Labeling must be according to the EU standard marketing standard for mangoes.

- Fruit handlers who are responsible for sorting and grading of fruits must be trained efficiently, not compromising on the quality of fruit by any means.

Protocols for laboratory analysis:

- Exporters must conduct laboratory analysis for microbiological, heavy metal contamination and pesticide residues from an ISO 17025 certified (PCSIR) laboratory to ensure that these contaminants and residues are in acceptable limits as prescribed by the EU.

- The cost of these tests must be facilitated by the TDAP either 100 percent or at least 50 percent.

- The DPP must ensure the inspection of cargo before issuing of phytosanitory certificate.

- The DPP must ensure to set any machinery equipped with latest technology which can scan the cargo in order to detect the internal infestation of fruit as soon as possible.

Additional measures:

- Exporters can conduct trials of Hot Water Treatment (HWT) on different varieties of mangoes to analyze its pros and cons in order to make a decision about the adaptability of HWT on authentic and reliable basis.

- Those exporters who face DEFRA interceptions of maximum five shipments must be banned for export by TDAP for the rest of the season.

- A committee should be formed to overlook the export process to EU, hear the complaints from exporters and DPP, implement the process, and facilitate the implementation agency.

- Ministry of agriculture must think seriously about the installation of irradiation (E-beam) technology in Pakistan as this is the most promising and viable quarantine solution available. This will not only work for mango exports, but it can resolve many SPS issues relating to a wide range of fruits and vegetables (whole and processed).

Apart from F and V it has a wide scope in the field of dairy, medicine, water sanitation etc.

According to PFVA, these steps may result in a volume decrease in this season. However, they will enable the export industry to work in the right direction in order to maintain its access to the EU market for the year 2014. With the acceptance of these protocols export industry would be able to maintain its volume again in the upcoming seasons.