Published: March 10, 2015

KARACHI: Pakistan didn’t export kinnow to the European Union this year due to its strict quality checks; although Russia remained the biggest market for the citrus fruit, said a leading fruit exporter on Monday. 

“Our quality control department (quarantine) did not allow traders to export kinnow to many European counties after finding that the fruit might face quality issues there,” said Waheed Ahmed, chairman Research and Development at All Pakistan Fruit, Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA). 

The country had also not exported the citrus fruit to EU during the last season due to various reasons. 

“There was a fear that local citrus would have banned in EU for one year had we dispatched there five poor quality consignments during this season,” Ahmed said. 

He added that they would get rid of quality issues by the next season. 

However, Moscow offset the halt in exports to EU as it imported 100,000 kinnow from Pakistan, which is more than 40 percent of the total exports of 240,000 tonnes so far this year. 

“Moscow may import another 5,000 to 5,500 tonnes in the ongoing season... The cheaper price of Pakistani fruit is another reason of enhanced export to Moscow this year,” Ahmed said. 

Pakistan is expected to meet the kinnow export target of 300,000 tonnes for this year and generate $200 million foreign exchange. 

Ahmed said the country will export another 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes in the next 30 to 40 days. 

Middle East, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippine, Hong Kong, East Europe, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Canada, Mauritius and Malaysia were the prominent buyers of kinnow during the current season. 

PFVA signed a memorandum of understanding with a not-for-profit scientific research institute CABI and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council to introduce new varieties of citrus and improve research and development. Ahmed added that the ministries of commerce and national food security and research, and other government departments are supporting PFVA’s research and development programmes and helping the exporters in getting rid of quality issues with regards to EU.