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Kinnow export target may not be achieved
Published: December 11, 2011

KARACHI, Dec 10: Kinno export target of 300,000 tons this season is unlikely to be achieved due to problems created by 100 per cent examination of consignments by the customs.

Due to perishable nature of kinno, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had exempted kinno consignments from 100 per cent examination as well as allowed exemption from Drug Enforcement Cell (DEC.

The FBR had issued the directive in this regard vide their circular (5(38)/EP/02) of Jan 15, 2007, and fruit exporters` body had taken full responsibility that in case drug or narcotics were found in any consignment certified by the association, the association would be responsible.

Former, Chairman, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Importers and Merchants Association, Abdul Wahid, and current chairman Mustafa Kamal, at a press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Saturday, said since the issuance of the directive, the Customs authorities had strictly been following it and the association did not encounter any problem until November 2011 this year.

They said now contrary tothe directive of the FBR, all of a sudden, 100 per cent examination of export containers is being made from from November 2011 leading to in-ordinate delays and variation in temperature, affecting quality of the fruit.

They added that up till now exporters have received complaints from Dubai and Sri Lanka about bad quality of the kinno due to mishandling of containers by the Custom authorities.

Since our agents are not allowed to be present during the process of examination, exporters really do not know how long the containers are left open and unattended and how de-stuffing and re-stuffing process is carried out by the unskilled labourers.

First containers undergo examination by the Custom and then marked for the DEC and once the examination is over, the container is destuffed for sniffing process by dogs.

One can well imagine the condition of perishable stuff after undergoing such a lengthy process.

After receiving serious complaints of quality issue from short distanced location which are just 36 days voyage from Karachi (Dubai andSri Lanka), exporters are worried at the magnitude of complaints likely to be received from countries which have voyage time from 35-30 days, they said.

Wahid said export of kinno has started from the second week of November and till to-date some 800 to 1,000 containers (each container carrying 26 tons) were shipped to various foreign destinations.

Due to bumper crop of 2.3 to 2.4 million tons of kinnw this year, export target was fixed at 300,000 tons as compared to 225,000 tons.He said he cannot say about exact drop in export but it would definitely suffer badly this year, if the problem is not resolved.

Exporters having privilege of the DTRE facility had also been exempted from examination as per directive of the FBR vide their circular (5(25)/EP/0.1. Pt. IL Misc.

210609) of Dec 29, 2008 and again this directive was being followed in letter and in spirit from that time of issuance up till November 2011 this year.

He said the same process of 100 per cent examination is being carried out in violation to the directive of the FBR.

Besides 100 per cent examination, 100 per cent weight of full consignments is also being carried out, he added.

He said exporters have signed MoUs with different countries eg Iran and Russia etc and as per their requirement; a specific temperature needs to be maintained.

`If we do not follow the required process, the concerned authorities like quarantine department of that specific country, would not accept the consignment which would not only tarnish the image of the country, but Pakistan would also suffer heavily in terms of huge foreign exchange.

He said the association had held several meetings with high Customs officials, including Chief collector Customs and Director Projects and apprised them of serious concerns in this regard, but despite their firm assurances, nothing had so far been done.

Wahid said the association would wait for two weeks and in case the issue remains unresolved, exporters would chalk out their future strategy, and as a result the growers would also suffer equally.

He urged the Prime Minister and the commerce ministry to look into this serious issues and get these resolved on a `war footing `so that export target could be met besides earning $200 million foreign exchange.