Published: January 09, 2015

KARACHI: Exporters are facing difficulties in sending their potato shipments to various foreign destinations despite removal of 25 per cent regulatory duty on potato exports.

The regulatory duty was imposed in May 2014 to check rising prices of potatoes in the domestic market. It was withdrawn a couple of weeks back, but the SRO was issued on Thursday.

Despite this, the port authorities are still demanding 25pc duty as SRO is yet to be uploaded on WeBOC system.

“At least 25,000 tonnes of potato destined for Sri Lanka and Arab states is ready to be shipped, but port authorities are still demanding regulatory duty on exports.”

In this situation, exporters are unable to honour their commitments to foreigners which is hurting their credibility, said Waheed Ahmed, Co-chairman of All-Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Expo­rters, Importers and Merch­ants Association.

“We are getting frequent inquiries and orders, but the current situation does not allow exporters to utilise the potential,” he said.

Waheed said currently potato exports to Sri Lanka and Arab countries would fetch an average price of $200 per tonne.

He said Pakistan has a good potato crop this year and after putting aside local consumption, a sizable quantity is available for exp­orts. But the delay in exports is depriving the country of precious foreign exch­ange and causing loss to growers.

Pakistan had imported 1,500-2,000 containers of potato from China, Bangladesh, Holland and Iran in 2014 to meet demand and supply gap. Besides over 600,000 tonnes of local crop had reportedly found its way to Afghanistan and Iran through illegal channels.

He urged the government to up-date the SRO on WeBOC so that the country could fetch precious foreign exchange.

Many importers of potato, he said, are hinting that they may divert their orders to India and Bangladesh if delay persists from Pakistan.