Pakistani agricultural traders have suggested that fruits and vegetables should not be included in the negative list being prepared in relation to trade with India while value added products including mango pulp can be put in the list.
In response to requests for suggestions from stakeholders by the federal ministry of commerce, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers, Exporters and General Merchants Association has proposed focusing on free trade of fruits, vegetables and other farm products.
The association’s co-chairman, Wahid Ahmed, told The Express Tribune that India could be a large market for Pakistani fruits and vegetables and their export could fetch $3 billion in the next five years as a result of free trade.
He said Pakistan could substantially increase the volume and value of fruit and vegetable exports after gaining access to the Indian market and diverting focus from high-value markets of Europe and America. In the case of latter, heavy investment was required to acquire international standard and quality certification necessary for exports, he pointed out.
Ahmed said India could be a big importer of Pakistani kinnow and mango. Production of kinnow is estimated to be around two million tons this year, of which 300,000 tons could be exported. “Exports of kinnow can be increased further in case of trade with India.”
Similarly, he suggested that India and Pakistan could jointly market mango in the international market for eight to nine months in a year because mango season in India started in March and continued till June while the season in Pakistan began in June and lasted till October.
Ahmed said free trade of fruits and vegetables between India and Pakistan would help control inflation as it would stabilise supply of edible commodities.