KARACHI: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Pakistan Fruits and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) have joined hands to improve the standards and quality of the country’s fruit and vegetables and introduce new varieties of agricultural products. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between the two organisations shortly.
PFVA Co-Chairman Waheed Ahmed said USAID’s proposal will not only enhance the country’s exports, but also help growers get maximum benefits.
While briefing about exports of mangos and kinnows in Pakistan, Ahmed said that kinnow has become a major export item within the fruit group. Exported volume of the citrus fruit is 300,000 tons; whereas total exports of mangos stand at 130,000 tons. Russia and Ukraine have emerged as the biggest markets of Pakistan’s kinnows in recent years, he informed. “This fact stresses the need to educate producers and exporters about new varieties of citrus fruits, cold storage, improved packaging and market outreach,” Waheed urged. He also suggested that by cultivating seedless varieties, local sellers can tap markets in Europe that have so far eluded Pakistani exporters.
Representatives from the PFVA also highlighted issues arising from non-compliance to the international quality standards in the meeting. Dedicated research organisations should develop varieties that best meet the needs of the global market, they suggested.
Currently, any work done by agricultural research organisations has not been made available to farmers due to weak extension services and the absence of coordination between entities, representatives.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2012.