Domestic Kinnow production is expected to fall 15 percent to 1.65 million tons during this season due the climatic hazards and unfavourable weather conditions. Although, Pakistan has started Kinnow exports from December 1, 2015; however significant drop in exportable surplus from the beginning of season are being observed in export volumes which are noteworthy lowest.
According to Waheed Ahmed, Chairman Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) the production of Kinnow is expected to be 1.65 million tons during this season compared to 1.95 million tons in the last season mainly due to unfavourable weather conditions and this condition may not result in lessen production but also must reduce exports volumes.
"Under the current uncertain circumstances Kinnow exports target has reconciled to set as 200,000 tons for this season which is comparatively 150,000 tons less than the previous season's export volume of 350,000," he mentioned. "This is unfortunate that the production of valued fruit had decreased mainly because of the climatic change which has now become another challenge for growers, exporters and government institutions," he said.
He said PFVA had always emphasised on research and development at every level to save Pakistan's Kinnow industry. Waheed said the export of Kinnow would be largely depended on the traditional markets abroad including Russia, UAE, Philippine, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and others.
"Iranian market, considered as a market of 70,000 tons Pakistani Kinnow, is unfortunately reduced to less than 1,000 tons for our exporters due to various unresolved issues as huge duty has been imposed by Iranian government on import of fruit and secondly they are reluctance in issuing permit to Pakistani exporters in this regard," he informed. In addition, on the part of Pakistan, domestic banks are also reluctant in issuing E-form for Kinnow export to Iran following the US economic sanctions of Tehran, which is further discouraging exporters here to look towards the nearest lucrative market, he added.
Waheed said Pakistan, keeping in view the softened economic restrictions on Tehran followed by the nuclear deal with western countries, should also come forward to remove hindrance in trade relations with the neighbouring country.
"With the removal of trade barriers Islamabad may easily export 0.1 million tones Kinnow to the single country. Besides, exporters are also trying to tap markets in Thailand, which is another lucrative market of this fruit after Iran. Thailand is already importing citrus fruits worth $145 million from China, Taiwan, Australia South Korea and others," chairman PFVA said.
"There is international market worth $15 billion of citrus varieties and its value-added products and we believe that Pakistan by introducing other varieties of Kinnow in the country can generate over $1 billion through exporting the fruit per year; through research and development, Pakistan can stretch the season of Kinnow from December to March by induction of other varieties of citrus fruits," he mentioned. He also stressed on immediate steps to meet the increasing challenges related to production and export of this fruit.