Published: August 09, 2013
KARACHI: The All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) has initiated measures to develop a national and export policy for the agriculture sector for the next 10 years, keeping in view decline in the number of varieties of various fruits and vegetables, their lower yield per acre and gradual drop in exports, the association chairman said on Thursday.
“The association has initiated the process of developing the national and export policy for the agriculture sector, especially for fruits and vegetables, for the next 10 years.
The policy papers are to be finalised in 2014. While developing a culture of research and development will remain the central theme of the policy,” Waheed Ahmed, chairman of PFVA, said.
Initially, the policy paper will aim at increasing exports of fruits and vegetables to $7 billion in the next 10 years from $625 million earned in the fiscal year 2013, he said.
Members of the association have recently met professors and staff of Faisalabad Agriculture University and the concerned department of University of Karachi to take them on board for the development of the policy and take benefit from their research work on development of new varieties of seeds for fruits and vegetables.
“PFVA has also signed memorandum of understandings with the two universities for this purpose,” he said, adding that the association has also met officials of the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.”
After Eid, the office-bearers and members of the association will meet teaching and research teams of universities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, he said.
“We will also seek help from plant production departments of the government from each province of the country and the association has already send letters to them,” he said.
Besides, the association is also taking on board all the stakeholders from growers to exporters to make the policy workable. Shipping line agents will also be taken on board, he said.
Ahmed said that the research and development will remain the core of the policy paper, as this is the only way left to develop new varieties of various fruits and vegetables, increase their yield per acre of land and exports.
If Pakistan does not set its complete focus on research and development in the agriculture sector, the time is not far that Pakistan will become a major import country of food items, he said.
“The country has already started importing potato, onion, tomato, wheat and a few other items. And if we do not wake up and set focus on agriculture productions, then it will become a major food item importing country in the next five to six years,” he said.
Farmers have land and they just need to modernise their growing techniques, utilise resources efficiently and attain increased yield.
“PFVA is a body representing importers and exporters of fruits and vegetables. And if the country becomes a major food item importing country from exporting, it will not hurt our interest. However, the shift in trade pattern at the national level will definitely impact our country and farmers,” he added.