Published: July 07, 2013
"We want everyone in the fruit supply chain to upgrade, if we are to increase our exports and find new markets," Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association (PFVA) Chairman Waheed Ahmed.
KARACHI: After UK authorities recently destroyed all Pakistani mango shipments infested with fruit flies, both the government and the private sector have decided to take the issue seriously.
Industry experts say that Pakistan needs to improve the supply chain of fruits and vegetables exports to minimise the effects of diseases, which are currently hampering their export potential.
“We know we cannot immediately end the problems of fruit flies and other diseases from our fruits,” Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association (PFVA) Chairman Waheed Ahmed told The Express Tribune, “but we have to start acting now to avoid further worsening of the situation.”
“We have taken the government in confidence regarding future plans to spread important information among all stakeholders for controlling fruit diseases,” said Ahmed, who recently met Sikander Hayat Bosan, the federal minister for national food security and research, in Karachi. Bosan has reportedly expressed concerns over the rise of fruit diseases this year and offered his ministry’s help in improving the situation.
Hot water treatment is the best and cheapest solution for controlling fruit flies, but there are only two companies in Pakistan that have an in-house hot water treatment plant.
“Hot water treatment is the best solution, but we cannot place an outright ban on fruit exports which are not treated this way,” said Ahmed. “We have to give at least a year to our industry for preparation before we can take strict action.”
Meanwhile, fruit exporters say that growers do not take necessary step to protect fruits at the time when they are vulnerable to diseases. They complain that it is already too late to treat fruit by the time it reaches the market. “We want everyone in the fruit supply chain to upgrade, if we are to increase our exports and find new markets for our products,” Ahmed added.
“After the 18th amendment, the resolution of agricultural issues is the responsibility of provincial governments, so we have to especially engage Sindh and Punjab – the two largest provinces that produce fruits in the country,” Ahmed said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2013.