Daily Tribune


US, Japanese markets to remain out of reach

Published: May 10, 2012

KARACHI: Pakistan, which is going to start exporting mangoes by May 25, is likely to remain shut out of the lucrative US and Japanese markets.

Despite initiatives taken by the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to introduce Pakistani mangoes in US and Japanese markets, export of the fruit to these countries remain unlikely this year because of the lack of a well-equipped fruit treatment facility in the country.

The country is also estimated to be facing a 30% loss in production due to climatic changes in the country. Production is likely to stand around 1.2 million tons of mangoes against the production of 1.7 million tons recorded during the previous season.

Last year, 0.134 million tons of mango were exported, generating revenues of at least $38 million, according to PFVA co-Chairman Waheed Ahmed. This year, the target was fixed at 0.15 million tons, with estimated revenues of $50 million.

The reduction in production, he said, was mainly because of climatic changes which affected mango trees in Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas and Mityari in Sindh; and Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Shuja Abad, Muzaffar Garh and Khanewal in Punjab.

Japan last year approved the mangoes tested through a small VHT facility in the country; but it is not viable to use the same facility for commercial purposes because of its limited functionality and capacity. Thus, exports to Tokyo remain a distant dream, Ahmed said.

The absence of a quarantine facility in the country is also not favourable to exporters; as no exporter wishes to risk sending an entire consignment to the US before quality approval, while also bearing the huge freight cost, he said.

A proposal for the setting up of a commercial processing plant and a common facility centre has already been sent to the Ministry of Commerce, but the ministry has yet to take a step in this regard.

Beside the two important foreign markets, the country is also losing the market in Iran because of sanctions imposed by the US, as commercial banks are reluctant to be involved in financial transactions in this regard. Iran is regarded as a valuable market in terms of prompt payment for imported fruits; existing exports or smuggling will not benefit the country in terms of revenue, Waheed said.

He also revealed that a delegation from Australia was due to visit Pakistan this month to inspect mango farms and processing units in the country. The opening of Australian markets for the Pakistani mango – expected during this year – will be an important development for the country’s fruit exporters.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.

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Mango exports to shrink 30pc this season

Published: May 10, 2012

KARACHI: Pakistani mango exporters are likely to face 30 percent reduction in export volumes during the current export season on account of impact of climatic change in the country.

The mango yield for the current year country is estimated to be around 1.2 million tonnes against 1.7 million tonnes of the previous season. The export season is likely to take off from May 25, 2012, last year around 0.134 million tonnes of mango were exported against the target of 0.170 million tonnees out of the total production of 1.7 million tonnes, generating revenue around $38 million.

Waheed Ahmed co-Chairman, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) said this year the target was fixed at 0.15 million tonnes with the estimated revenue generation of $50 million to the country.

The reduction in production, he said, was mainly because of the climatic change which hit the mango trees in many parts of the country including, Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas and Mityari of Sindh and Multan, Rahimyar Khan, Shuja Abad, Muzaffar Garh and Khanewal of Punjab province.

Waheed informed, despite successful initiatives taken by PFVA in collaboration with Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to introduce the country’s mangoes in the US and Japanese markets, the exports of the fruit to these countries was unlikely to be started this year because of the lack of VHT plant facility in the country.

Though Japan had last year approved the mango tested through the existing small VHT facility in the country but it was not viable to use for commercial level of trade because of its functionality and capacity.

“Besides, the test and quality approval of mango in USA, in the absence of the quarantine facility in the country, was also not favourable for exports as no exporter could risk sending entire consignment to the foreign country before quality approval while bearing huge freight cost”, he added. The country’s mangoes failed to make their debut in Japan, USA and Russia due to lack of funds for installing the VHT and radiation plant, needed to qualify the value added markets of the foreign countries.

He informed a delegation of quarantine department of Australia was also due to visit Pakistan this month to inspect the mango farms and processing units in the country.

The opening of Australian border for Pakistani mango, which was expected this year, would be an important development for the country’s fruits.

The proposal of Commercial Processing Plant and Common Facility Centre has already been sent to the Ministry of Commerce but the Ministry was yet to take any step for resolving the quality issue of the highly demanded fruit of the country.

The country was also losing the already established and tapped market in Iran because of the sanctions imposed by US and UNO as the commercial banks here were reluctant to get involve in the financial transactions. The lukewarm response by the Pakistani officials towards a genuine issue raised by the exporters regarding trade with Iran may also spell severe financial repercussion for the fruits’ export of the country.

In view of the emerging critical situation, exporters were apprehensive about the future of their exports as Iran is regarded as a valuable market in terms of prompt payment for the imported fruits. The existing exports or smuggling via land routes to Tehran would also not benefit the country in terms of revenue, Waheed added.

The News Logo


Strike hits perishable goods’ export

Published: March 18, 2012

KARACHI: Exporters of fresh produce, particularly perishable goods suffered losses running into millions of rupees, as shipments were delayed due to suspension of business activities in Karachi and other cities of Sindh on Saturday, a leading exporter.

On Saturday, markets remained closed and transport suspended over protest of Karachi Tajir Ittehad supported by Muttahida Qaumi Movement against increase of extortion in the city.

“Loss is in millions,” Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association co-chairman Waheed Ahmed told The News.
Ahmed said that disruption of export shipments affects the reputation of Pakistan in other countries as well. “You should close the local business in protest, but do not disturb exports,” he said.

“If strikes were to hinder foreign shipments, we could lose the export market,” he said. Shipping lines do not wait for the betterment of situation. “Perishable vegetable items suffer the most,” he said.

Transport from market to the port was also suspended besides low presence of workers. “Around 80 percent activity at wholesale market was also suspended,” said one exporter.

One trader and wholesale vegetable and fruit market (Sabzi Mandi) said that growers and traders suffered a loss of over Rs80 million at wholesale vegetable market on Saturday, as business declined by over 60 percent under tense situation in the city.

Nearly, 800 trucks of fruits and vegetables reach the market daily. Business of more than 400 trucks was affected during such strikes. Each truckload of fresh vegetables at an average is worth around Rs200,000.

Welfare Association Wholesale Vegetable Market President Haji Shahjahan told The News that business was almost shut at the wholesale vegetable market but few busses carrying perishable vegetables entered in the market.

Mostly, prices of those items declined, whose life was very short due to unavailability of storages. Coriander, mint, and spinach prices declined by more than 50 percent, as their age is less than 24 hours, he said.

The vegetable prices would rebound quickly as soon as situation normalises, but the market would need a whole week to recover from the impact of single day closure. “Growers, brokers, taders, and wholesalers everyone suffered losses due to market closure,” he said. Shahjahan said that they had also received demand notes few days back. “Robbers and extortionists move freely in the vegetable market, but the law enforcers take no action,” he said.



Of Kinnow exports

Published: January 27, 2012

How difficult is it to sell an orange to Iran, a country that is literally across the border from Pakistan? Well, given the current international pressure mounting against Iran over its purported nuclear ambitions; it appears selling oranges to Iran is not just difficult; its downright impossible.

Trade routes between Pakistan and Iran have remained disturbed in recent weeks after border tensions led to a temporary closure of border-crossing points.

However, it appears that even significant access to Irans market may not attract local Kinnow exporters there, at least for now.

"Last year, one US dollar cost about 930 Irani Toman, this year the same greenback costs about 2,200 Iranian Toman.

The value of their currency is falling so quickly that it is very difficult to execute any deals with them," asserts leading fruit exporter Waheed Ahmed.

Given that countrys proximity to Pakistan, local fruit exporters had hoped to capitalise on rising demand for the exclusive local citrus produce in Iran.

And the lack of this lucrative avenue is telling in the Kinnow exports achieved so far in the season.

Since the start of Kinnow harvest in November so far fruit exporters estimate that exports have tallied at about 100,000 tons.

"At this pace, we are very unlikely to export 300,000 tons of Kinnows by March," laments Ahmed.

The sudden turn of events for the worst in Iran is not the only worry for Kinnow exporters.

The sector has been eyeing negotiations between the Federal Government and its counterparts in Indonesia over a Preferential Trade Agreement in hopes of re-entering that market with a bang.

Although Pakistani exporters had found a lucrative market in that country, a Free Trade Agreement between Indonesia and China has left Pakistani fruit exporters uncompetitive there.

Although government has repeatedly extolled plans to sign a PTA with Indonesia, the said deal is yet to be inked.

Federal Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim is expected in Jakarta soon for this purpose.

For fruit exporters and growers, the promise of a broader market lies in the balance.



The News Logo


Kinnow exports decline amid lack of Govt interest

Published: January 27, 2012

KARACHI: Pakistan has lost exports of 50,000 tons of kinnow so far due to lack of interest by the Ministry of Commerce to increase trade to foreign markets, said an exporter on Thursday.

In a statement, co-chairman of Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Importers, Exporters and Merchants Association Waheed Ahmed, added that the number is expected to reach to a total damage of 100,000 tons this year.

Pakistan had set the target of exporting 300,000 tons of kinnow this year, but ministry of commerce showed lack of interest and did not take measures to increase the trade, he said.

Export is likely to remain around the target of last year of 200,000 tons. Pakistan would lose the market of nearly 100,000 tons as no export was made to Indonesia, while only a few thousand tons were exported to Iran through land route, he said.

Following no implementation of Free Trade Agreement with Indonesia, export of around 45,000 tons of kinnow could not be made possible, he stated. Pakistan’s embassy in Indonesia says that delay to implement the agreement was made on the side of Pakistani authorities in Islamabad, he said.

Furthermore, due to the trade barriers put over Iran by the US and the United Nations, Pakistan could not export 100,000 tons to it and only 10,000 tons were exported to Iran thorough land route.

Ahmed said that barriers in trade with Indonesia and Iran would make the export of 300,000 tons target impossible for Pakistan. “No measures were taken to promote kinnow in the Chinese market either,” he said, adding that “this is a good year for production but a bad year for exports.” A total of 8,000 tons of kinnow worth $51 million have been exported so far against the target of exporting 150,000 tons by this period, Ahmed added.




Pakistan’s fruit exports halted
Published: December 21, 2011

KARACHI - Pakistani exports of fruits to Iran have practically stopped following the United Nation’s sanctions on the neighboring country. Under the sanction on the brotherly neighbour, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has also stopped issuing E-forms to the exporters of fruit causing huge losses to them. The exporters who were all set to export around 3000 containers of Kinnow presently would be losing a lucrative market and revenue of at least $30 million, sources said.

The exporters who were waiting to export the huge available stock of Kinnow to Iran this year were shown a letter issued by SBP at various banks, in which the banks were barred from issuing the e-form to them. This decision by the SBP has been taken following the UN sanctions on Tehran.

According to fruit exporters, this was a setback for them as they would not be able to export almost 3000 containers of Kinnow this year to an already confirmed and valued market in the neighbouring country. Talking to Profit, Waheed Ahmed Co-Chairman, Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) said that the export of fruit to the neighboring country has practically stopped after the fresh move and has instead given rise to the illegal trade of fruit with Iran.After a complete halt of exports through legal ways, the smuggling/illegal export to Iran via land routes would be increased that would cause huge losses in revenue to the national exchequer, he said.

The association, he said, would however approach the concerned authorities to take the issue seriously as the loss of a lucrative market would simultaneously affect the exporters, growers and transporters badly. The county exports about 60,000 tonnes of Kinnow annually to Iran alone which is between 30 to 40 per cent of its total global Kinnow trade, sources pointed out. According to Waheed, the banks were showing an older notification issued by SBP which said that economic sanctions and embargoes sanctioned by US prohibit trade and financial transaction with 10 countries including Iran.” The branch managers and foreign exchange in charges are advised that in view of the risks involved, should not handle any type of transactions including the imports, exports, remittances and guarantees etc. expressed in US dollars pertaining to the mentioned countries, or banks owned by these countries under US sanctions”.

Though the notification bears the issuing date of December 2008, it was now being shown to the exporters when they demand the E form from banks. Interestingly the same forms have been issued during the last two years despite the notification. However the banks were now implementing it this year, he said. He said that the US and International community should compensate the country’s exporters, who indirectly have been affected by the sanctions, through giving market access to other countries of the west.

According to sources, the fresh move, on the part of US and Pakistan’s central banks, was another setback to the country’s exporters who were already facing banking issues. The unwillingness by Pakistani banks to accepting Letters of Credit (LC) of Iranian banks was badly hurting Pakistani exports to the neighboring country. The local banks were earlier refusing to accept LCs of even those Iranian banks which did not fall under UN or United States sanctions. Earlier, according to sources, the UN and the US had imposed a ban on six major banks as part of a sanctions regime on Iran for alleged illicit nuclear activity. However, Pakistani banks were point blank refusing to receive LCs from even unsanctioned banks of the neighbouring country. This constitutes a major hindrance to Pakistani exporters.

Despite repeated requests by both foreign and local exporters, the banking issue is not being resolved by the concerned authorities in Islamabad. Intriguingly, the sources claimed, this comes at a time, when LCs of sanction-free banks of the host country are being accepted by Pakistan’s competitors in the region. As central banks of Pakistan’s rival countries are facilitating their exporters in terms of trade with Iran, Islamabad’s exports to Iran are likely to suffer and lose potentially lucrative markets in Iran, they pointed out.

Under the present situation, Iranian importers are either utilising other suppliers or import via Dubai by opening LCs from banks located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE); thus goods ultimately destined for Iran are transited through Dubai. On arrival, new documents are being prepared for these goods which are then being shipped in launches to small ports in Iran, the sources added. The caution exhibited by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) which forbids local banks from accepting such LCs have placed major exporters of Pakistan at a great disadvantage as they mostly refuse to ship goods directly to Iran due to higher risk entailed, sources highlighted. The commercial attache of Pakistan in Tehran, in his report, had also underlined the issue, saying that due to the banking problems, there was a consistent decline in the country’s exports to Iran specially for major items like cotton cloth, yarn and textile apparel. According to the report though, the country’s embassy in Tehran had repeatedly requested bodies such as the Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to address the issue with SBP; but the problem remains unresolved. “If banking problems are not resolved on a priority basis, exports are destined to fall as Iranian importers switch to other sources, where they can conduct business through LCs,” the report warned.

The News Logo

Examination makes Kinnow exports suffer
Published: December 08, 2011

KARACHI: Kinnow export is suffering huge losses, as 100 percent examination by the custom authorities is delaying the consignments and damaging the fruit quality, said an exporter.

Co-Chairman All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers, Exporters and Merchants Association Waheed Ahmed told The News that one container that reached Dubai on December 6 was 50 percent damaged, causing a loss of $20,000. “If a container gets damaged by 50 percent in reaching Dubai, what will be its position when it reaches Russia after one month?”

Nearly 50 containers worth Rs80 million were rejected because of the delay caused by custom authorities, he said. Ahmed said that under new mechanism adopted at the ports, even consignments of perishable fruits were examined fully. Consignments of kinnow to Russia, Ukraine, Middle East and Gulf states were rejected because of the delay, which cost huge loss to the exporters, he said.

In order to keep the fruit fresh, kinnows were exported in refrigerated containers at 4 degree Celsius, he said. But those containers were also opened, which changed the temperature and damaged the fruit, he complained.

He warned if consignments of fruits were checked in that way, the country would fail to achieve target of 300,000 tons of kinnow export, which would result in huge losses of foreign exchange earning.

The country already suffers post-harvest losses every year owing to lack of adequate facilities and proper training of picking and packing, say farm producers. The major post-harvest losses are caused because of lack of awareness about how to deal with the fruit during picking and packing. Another factor is the lack of proper storage system, which makes the fruit vulnerable to early rotting.

There is lack of proper warehouses to store the kinnow and the existing storage systems lack facilities as all fruit and vegetables are kept at the same temperature under one roof, which reduces the shelf-life of several of them.

A farm producer said that initiatives were taken to encourage farmers to utilise the proper techniques of picking and packing. He stressed the need for developing proper storage for kinnow preservation.

Kinnow has become one of the major export items within the fruit group. The fruit grows primarily in plains of Punjab, including Sargodha and Toba Tek Singh. But the share of Pakistan’s citrus in the world market is as low as 1.4 percent. The export volume of the citrus fruit remains low on account of growing practices that are not in conformity with international harvesting procedures.

Pakistan is ranked the 13th largest citrus producer in the world with production of 2.1 million tonnes of citrus. It is grown on an area of 185,000 hectares.

Russia’s fresh citrus imports are on the rise. Russia and Ukraine have emerged as the biggest markets for Pakistani kinnow in the recent years. In a matter of five years, their share have increased from almost nil to over 100,000 tons, around 30 per cent of the total exports. Both these states need smaller kinnow, which they consume with liquor for its strong taste and high sucrose content. “Their share is increasing every year,” he said.

All efforts have so far been concentrated on increasing the size and improving the look of the fruit because Pakistan’s traditional markets in the Middle East and the Far East demand bigger size. “For the purpose, Pakistan needs to develop a new variety of seed that meets the requirements of Russia, Ukraine and possibly other East European states,” he said.



Daily Dawn Logo


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.

Daily Dawn Logo

Sri Lankan move hampers exports
Published: November 24, 2011

KARACHI, Nov 24: The Sri Lankan decision of imposing a special commodity levy on imports of fruit and vegetables from many countries including Pakistan has annoyed local exporters at a time when citrus export season gets underway.

Under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Sri Lanka there was no duty on import of fruits and vegetables and Sri Lankan importers were only required to pay a cess.

All Pakistan Fruits Vegetable Importers Exporters and Merchants Association Co-Chairman Waheed Ahmed said that after the new levy many Sri Lankan buyers of Pakistani kinno, onion and potato were suspending their orders as they would now have to pay $4.47 per kg on kinno import as against the $2.19 per kg cess.

Similarly, on import of onion and potato they would have to pay 22 cents and 30 cents per kg from nine and 4.5 cents per kg, respectively.

He said 13,000 tons of kinno were exported to Sri Lankain thelastseason outoftotal exports of 215,000.
Pakistan produces around two million tons of the fruit and the overall export target for this season has been fixed at 300,000 tons.

`Our export of kinno to Sri Lanka is likely to fall by 60-70 per cent after the new levy, he said, adding that some 260 tons of kinno has already been shipped on which the Sri Lankan buyers will have to pay special commodity levy.

Kinno export season begins from November 15 and end by mid April.

The potato exports will resume from January February and the share of Sri Lanka is estimated at 35,000 tons or 30-35 per cent out of country`s total potato export.

Pakistan exports 22,000 tons of onion to Sri Lanka, which accounts for 25 per cent of the country`s onion exports. Waheed said that the association had asked the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan government. `The local exporters will also discuss this issue with Sri Lankan Consul General in a meeting on Friday, ` he added.

A vegetable dealer at Subzi Mandi Super Highway said export of onion had already been suspended as Pakistan was importing onion from India and Iran to bridge the demand and supply gap caused by 70-80 per cent crop devastation in Sindh due to recent floods and rains.

`A sizable quantity of Indian onion has arrived in the last one and a half months by sea route,` he said.
He said arrivals from the new crop of Sindh pushed down the prices to Rs15-20 per kg causing heavy losses to many traders who had imported Indian onion at higher rates.

Daily Tribune

Kinnow export starts with first shipment to Dubai
Published: November 12, 2011

Total export target of kinnow this year was 300,000 tons, of which around 90,000 tons would be exported to Russia, which was one of the biggest markets of Pakistan, where small size kinnow was popular.

KARACHI: Pakistan has started exporting kinnow this season with the first shipment of 56 tons to Dubai and exporters are also targeting the Indian market provided barriers are removed, a leading fruit trader says.

All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers, Exporters and Merchants Association co-chairman Waheed Ahmed, while talking to The Express Tribune, said total export target of kinnow this year was 300,000 tons, of which around 90,000 tons would be exported to Russia, which was one of the biggest markets of Pakistan, where small size kinnow was popular.

Iran is also a big market for Pakistani kinnow, where 30 per cent of exports are made. But, according to Ahmed, these do not fetch a handsome amount because of increased illegal shipments through land route.

He said the government had set a mechanism for kinnow export to Iran, which was being violated in illegal shipments. According to the mechanism, kinnow, being exported to Iran, should be kept in temperature of one degree centigrade for 11 days to cure them of infection, if any, from fruit fly and other diseases.

In order to encourage exports, Iran slashes duty on kinnow from 45% to 4% in February every year, after consuming its own crop. In the previous season, the duty was reduced in the first week of January and in this season also the duty is expected to be cut in the same month.

Besides Russia and Iran, Indonesia will also emerge as a lucrative market for kinnow this season as Jakarta is set to scrap the import duty in January. For the last five years, kinnow export to Indonesia had been limited to around 200 to 250 containers, but this season shipments were likely to jump to 2,000 containers carrying 56,000 tons, Ahmed said.

Discussing the Indian market, he said Delhi set a high value of Pakistani kinnow at $15 per 10 kg, which was equal to that of Australian kinnow. However, Pakistani kinnow has real value of $4 to $5 per 10 kg.

In addition to this, he said, the Indian quarantine department also created hurdles, but these were expected to be addressed following efforts to promote trade between the two countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th,  2011.


The News Logo

Kinnow smuggling to Iran hurting exports
Published: October 28, 2011

KARACHI: Smuggling of kinnow to Iran has increased manifolds in the last few years, reducing the legal trade from 2,000 containers to 200 and resulting in a loss of around $40 million every year to the country, exporters said. 

Co-chairman All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association Waheed Ahmed told The News that non-professional people had entered the business, which hurt the business of genuine exporters. 

Trade by road reduces the quality of fruit; he said and added the illegal traders fail to take care of standards. “Kinnow export can be made by road, but it ýshould be in proper way and meeting the standards,” he said. 

Iran’s share in the total export of Pakistani kinnow stands at around 33 percent.

Kinnow exports to Iran are likely to face serious problems in the coming seasons if exporters do not comply with Iranian quarantine department’s requirement of shipping kinnows in refrigerated containers, said a leading exporter. “The Iranian authorities have demanded kinnow shipments in refrigerated containers, but Pakistani exporters ignoring the condition have shipped the fruit in open trucks,” said Jawad. 

He expressed fear that the Iranian authorities may refuse to clear Pakistani kinnow for non-compliance with the refrigerated container condition very soon. 

The CEO Harvest Trading said the Minister for Commerce must ensure that the condition is complied with. 

He further said that the minister must call a meeting of exporters and take undertakings from them about compliance of Iranian conditions. He said the government must check smuggling and create check posts for ensuring documentation and compliance.

Daily Tribune

Published: October 18, 2011

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.

Source: tribune.com.pk



Fruitful cooperation with Central Asia

Published: October 14, 2011

The adoption of modern growing techniques and heavy monsoons in orange-growing areas such as Sargodha has boosted the country's Kinnow production this year. But given the spiralling demand for the citrus fruit from Russia, Ukraine and other Central Asian countries, it seems export demand is still outstripping local production, significantly.

"For the upcoming season, there are encouraging reports of good crop of oranges ranging around 2.5 million tonnes and there are strong prospects that the country's exports (of Kinnow) would surpass previous years' 200,000 tonnes figure", said former chairman Fruit Exporters Association of Pakistan, Abdul Wahid.

Middle Eastern countries, Iran, Bangladesh, Eastern Europe, Russia and Ukraine are already importing Kinnow from Pakistan, while Indonesia and Malaysia have recently emerged as strong buyers of the local produce.

With the successful signing of MoU between commerce secretaries of Pakistan and Indonesia for free trade agreement, Kinnow export to Indonesia is expected to rise to 40,000-45,000 tonnes or $23.850 million, in the January-April 2012 period.

China has also shown interest in importing Pakistani Kinnow and it is expected that Pakistan will soon begin shipping out the highly sought-after produce by the time of the next harvest.

Over the period of time, Russia and Ukraine have emerged as leading importers of Pakistani oranges, with aggregate export to both countries now contributing almost half of Pakistan's total export.

The Pakistani variety of this citrus fruit is of a relatively smaller size and has a rich flavour. These characteristics have made it quite popular throughout Central Asia. Yet exports to this region are still, far below their true potential level.

First, the local fruit processing and packaging industry must be encouraged. "Punjab Government must declare the Sargodha factories, where most of the production is done, an industrial zone and develop the poor infrastructure.

"Facilities like continuous supply of gas and electricity at discounted tariffs, better roads and fertiliser subsidy can add favourably to the development of the sector" said Chief Executive Harvest Trading, Ahmed Jawad, while talking to BR Research.

The Central Bank can also provide a boost to fruit exports by facilitating soft loans for infrastructural development as well as export refinance. Banking links between Pakistan and Central Asian countries are not well developed, which constrains the ability of local sellers to approach new buyers in Russia and its adjoining states.

Jawad also stressed the need to educate producers and exporters about new varieties of citrus fruits, cold storage, improved packaging and market outreach. He highlighted that also by cultivating seedless varieties, local sellers can tap those markets in Europe that have so far eluded Pakistani exporters.

"Training seminars and workshops are crucial to raise awareness about Euro Gap and HACCP (hazardous analysis for critical control point), so that local farmers and exporters can meet international quality standards.

While the global economic slowdown has taken a bite out of conventional export drivers such as textiles; fruit exports hold promise of significant growth in existing as well as new markets. By facilitating growers, exporters and other related stakeholders, the government can increase exports, decrease dependence on textile exports to the EU, while also fostering deeper ties with Russia and other Central Asian states.

After all, what better diplomatic ice breaker can match the world-famous fresh and sweet Kinnow of Sargodha!


Pakistan's no (man)go areas
Published: September 16, 2011

If recent news articles regarding Pakistan's mango exports are anything to go by, it appears that the king of fruits is receiving a royal ovation, world over.
Unfortunately, however, the ground reality belies recent media reports that the country has shipped more than 150,000 tons of mangoes to destinations around the world. "Our total exports of mangoes this season did not exceed 130,000 tons," said former chairman Pakistan fruit exporters association (PFVA), Waheed Ahmed.
cartoon"We have suffered huge losses this season; shipping lines delayed shipments, clearance from local customs authorities was affected by the temporary closure of PaCCS and the rains in Punjab caused major damage to the fruit there", explained Ahmed.
Government officials have painted a rosy picture for fruit exporters, claiming that sales of mangoes to Japan and the United States will surge dramatically in the next season. But the bitter truth is that little headway has been made in negotiations with both these countries.
On July 30 the inaugural ceremony of Pakistani mangoes was held at Chicago's Palmer House hotel. The event was hosted by the country's ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, and many US dignitaries were in attendance.
"2800 kilograms of mangoes were shipped to the US for this ceremony costing exporters more than $50,000", revealed chairman PFVA Abdul Malik. But he added that exporters are considering this a sunk cost because so far the US government has shown no inclination to redress stringent quality requirements that limit the viability of exports to the world's largest importer of mangoes.
The United States has authorized a single facility in Sioux City, Iowa to irradiate mangoes imported from Pakistan. Exporters have clamoured for the approval of Pakistani plants, including an existing facility in Lahore; to perform the same process. But so far, their requests have fallen on deaf ears.
Officials from TDAP and the commerce ministry have also reportedly asserted that the country can initiate exports of this fruit to Japan from next year to the tune of 200-300 tons. But among the trade barriers is the requirement of vapour heat treatment (VHT) of all mangoes shipped to Japan.
Waheed Ahmed, who operates the country's sole VHT facility as a pilot project revealed that the total capacity of this installation is "about 180 kilograms of mangoes per day" adding that this facility is not sufficient to initiate commercial export of mangoes to Japan.
The Japanese government has keenly pursued local exporters to purchase a commercial-scale VHT plant, "but this installation will cost us about Rs350 million and even after that we would still be in a vulnerable position if a couple of years later, the Japanese government introduces new regulations regarding the export of mangoes to their country," warned Abdul Malik.
Instead of purchasing expensive infrastructure that is only relevant for exports to one country (Japan), Pakistan's government must work towards establishing indigenous process for quality control and getting them approved by the governments of major markets.
As an example, VHT plants are only built by Japanese companies and only their country requires processing of mangoes through these installations. On the contrary, hot water treatment plants can be purchased or developed locally at a fraction of the cost. China and Iran have already approved export of hot-water treated mangoes from Pakistan.
At the end of this month, the Philippines' government is organising the "13th National Mango Conference" with the theme, "Positioning the Philippines mango strongly in the world market". That country's government has also succeeded in enlisting the help of USAID in finding buyers for its mangoes, abroad.
The quality of Pakistan's mangoes is undeniably world class. Now growers and exporters need proactive measures from the government to secure favourable terms for export to the United States, Japan and other global destinations.

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Supplies suspended: Vegetable prices shoot up
Published: September 3, 2011

Prices of almost all vegetables have doubled following suspension in supplies from the interior Sindh after heavy rains caused damage to various crops.

Retailers are demanding Rs60-80 per kg for tomato as compared to Rs30-40 in Ramazan, while onion price was tagged at Rs40 a kg compared to Rs25-30 earlier.

However, the price of potato remained pegged at Rs30 per kg owing to its supply from cold storages as well as from Punjab.

Cucumber emerged as the most sought-after item after rains devastation in the interior as traders demanded Rs120-160 per kg from consumers compared to Rs30-50 depending on the quality and area.

Lemon is now selling at Rs200 per kg as compared to Rs120 per kg, while ladyfinger is available at Rs60-70 per kg as compared to Rs40-50 per kg.

Vegetable dealers are asking Rs40 per kg for lokki as compared to Rs20-30 while turrai sells at Rs40-60 per kg as against Rs30-35.

Small bunches of podina and coriander (dhania) are available at Rs10 and Rs15-20 as against Rs5-6 and Rs10, earlier.

Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Markets president Haji Shahjehan said arrival of trucks from the interior carrying vegetables had dropped to 100-150 trucks a day from 400-450 in Ramazan.

He feared that disruption in supplies of onion from Balochistan, where rains had also started. In Sindh the onion crop due to arrive this month has destroyed by heavy rains. He added that people are currently consuming onion of Balochistan but in case its supply is stopped after rains then the price will further go up.

Shahjehan said onion rates in Subzi Mandi had swelled to Rs1,400-1,500 per 40 kg from Rs800 in Ramazan.

Tomato is also arriving from Balochistan and its wholesale rate is now quoted at Rs40-50 per kg as compared to Rs20 per kg.

He said the wholesale price of almost all green vegetables (perishable) had risen by 100 per cent.

All Pakistan Fruit Vegetable Exporters Importers and Merchants Association former chairman Waheed Ahmed claimed that rains and floods had destroyed 80 per cent of onion crop in Sindh, which produces around one million tons of onion every year.

He said the government should provide free seeds to growers for onion sowing in order to avert any big jump in price. He added that the Balochistan crop, which is feeding the entire country, has already concluded and growers may face problems as rains had also started there.

Only 100 tons of onion from Balochistan is being exported a week but exports this year may hit the bottom after 80 per cent crop loss in Sindh.

Pakistan had exported 250,000 tons of onion in 2010-11. He said reports suggest that rains had also damaged the banana orchards.

He recalled that last year`s floods had not hit the onion crop but this year`s late monsoon rains had damaged the ripening crop.


Fruits worth $40 million being smuggled to Iran
Published: August 10, 2011

Fruit exporters approaches Ministry to stop smuggling; Drastic decline in Pakistani exports to Iran observed


KARACHI - Pakistan is losing substantial revenues on the exports of fruits and vegetables to Iran as almost $40 million worth of fruits are being smuggled into the neighboring country. The illegal trade, which is being made in violation of the protocol signed by Pakistan and Iran, has also drastically reduced the legal trade of fruits with Tehran.

According to sources, besides huge losses for Pakistan in terms of various duties, Iran has also serious concerns over the export of unhygienic fruits through land routes. A group of All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA), has also raised the smuggling issue in a recently held meeting with Federal Secretary Commerce Zafar Mehmood, and Chief Executive TDAP Tariq Puri, in Karachi as the illegal trade was not only affecting the overall exports to the neighboring country but also causing huge losses for the government and exporters. Secretary commerce, sources said, has announced a special meeting of concerned authorities on August 26th, to address the issue.

Official sources in PFVA claimed that due to unchecked trade via land routes with Tehran, the export of Kinnow has declined from 2000 containers to only 200 containers during the last few years as illegal trade has increased manifold. The country was earlier exporting about 60,000 tonnes of kinnow annually to Iran alone which was between 30 to 40 per cent of its total global kinnow trade. Besides, Iranian government has also been expressed its concern that stale fruits were being supplied to its markets via land route of Balochistan. They wanted Pakistan to transport sensitive commodities in refrigeration trucks to maintain their required temperature. Transportation of fresh commodities is often made to Iran in open trucks and does not meet the phyto-sanitary requirements. This has lead to the neighboring country rejecting export goods several times and a request was sent to the Pakistani government to follow global standards.

Pakistani commercial counsular in Iran made efforts to make the government privy of the issue which has potential to damage the country's fresh fruit trade with the neighbouring state, sources said. They said in the current circumstances exporters were apprehensive about the future of their exports as the neighboring country was regarded as a valuable market in terms of prompt payment for the imported fruits. Relegation of Pakistani fruits would serve as a severe blow to them. Talking to Pakistan Today former Chairman PFVA said that though the association has no objection over the export of fruits through land routes but it should be through proper procedures meeting all phyto-sanitary requirements. The poor standard of kinnow and mango exported to Iran through land route in open trucks, he claimed was in violation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Pakistan and Iran in 2006.


Perishable items: Fruit exporters suffered the most
Published: July 27, 2011

Over 60 containers, which were carrying mango and onion worth around Rs80 million, were destined for Dubai, but due to the inordinate delay in clearance of cargo, the booked ship left the port without lifting the goods.


KARACHI: The suspension of cargo clearance under Pakistan Automated Customs Computerised System at the ports mainly caused worries for fruit and vegetable exporters as shipment of their perishable items was delayed.

Over 60 containers, which were carrying mango and onion worth around Rs80 million, were destined for Dubai, but due to the inordinate delay in clearance of cargo, the booked ship left the port without lifting the goods.

According to All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers, Exporters and Merchants Association former chairman Wahid Ahmed, out of the 60 containers, 50 were not covered and any rains would have damaged the fruits and vegetables, causing heavy losses to the exporters.

Earlier in June, he said, the shipment of 140 containers to Dubai was delayed due to a technical fault in the shipping vessel and when the fruit reached the destination, its quality had deteriorated.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2011.



First mango shipment goes to Japan
Sunday, July 17, 2011

KARACHI: Pakistani mangoes have finally made a debut in the Japanese market after passing through all the quality clearances.

The first shipment to Japan travelled by air on July 15.

“Export of mangoes to Japan was a big achievement for Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA),” the former chairman of the association Waheed Ahmed said that

Japan provided a Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT) plant to Pakistan in 1998 and export of mango was to be processed through that plant.

However, plant had become useless until 2010 when PFVA took its control and made it useful with the support of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

This season 400 kilograms of mangoes were processed through this plant and an official from Japan's agriculture ministry checked the processed mangoes in Karachi and allowed their export to Japan.

Waheed Ahmed said that Pakistan's horticulture achieved a milestone by getting share in Japanese market, which was small in terms of quality but very important in terms of price where Pakistani mangoes could get around Rs350 per kg.

He said that initially 2,000 kilograms of mangoes would be exported to Japan in shape of two shipments of 250 kilograms and one shipment of 400 kilograms.

The first shipment went through EK-603, which would be used by Pakistan Embassy in Japan for publicity purpose and gifts would be given to top personalities.

He said that Japan would become a market of around $3 million to $4 million within next five years.

Other countries that are exporting mangoes to Japan include Philippines, Thailand, Australia and South Africa.

He said that after meeting the quality requirements of Japan, Pakistani exporters achieved a level where they can export to any country in the world, as Japan has very tough quality standards.

The commercial export to Japan will start from next year and a commercial VHT plant would be installed for this purpose.


Japan approves mango quality

This year almost 2000 kg mango would be exported to Japan; First consignment of mangoes of almost two tonnes sent to Tokyo on Friday

KARACHI - After much effort from Pakistan's side, the Japanese authorities have approved Pakistani mangoes for imports. Japan has recognised Pakistan's Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT)test after Japanese experts visited the VHT plant in Pakistan.

The country sent the first consignment of mangoes of almost two tonnes to Tokyo, on Friday. Talking to Pakistan Today, former Chairman All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) Waheed Ahmed said on Saturday that the foreign team has issued NOC approving the import of mango from Pakistan after inspecting the VHT plant in the country.

“Now the country's mango has gotten international reorganization in terms of standard and quality,” he said adding that this development would facilitate the country's fruit to enter other quality sensitive countries. He said, to start the commercial export to foreign country PFVA has sent a proposal to the Ministry of Commerce to establish a common facility center. In response the ministry has demanded a feasibility report from the association, which would be the prime organization to run the center.

The income generated by the center would be spent on improving the quality and standard of mango, introduction of new verities of mango and research. According to Waheed the current approval from Tokyo has come after the inspection of the limited capacity VHT plant, which was given to Pakistan in 1999. The plant was dysfunctional due to lack of maintenance, but in 2010, with the coordination of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, the PFVA had successfully made the plant functional within two years.

After inspecting hundreds of kilograms of mango through the plant in Karachi, a Japanese agriculturists' delegation belonging to one of its renowned agriculture cooperative organization cleared the country's mango for export to Tokyo. He said this year almost 2000 kilogram mango would be exported to Japan, out of which over 250 kilogram mango has already been sent to Japan through flight EK-603 on July 15. These mangoes would be presented to various departments of in JApan and officials as a gift. Furthermore, the import would be advertised in Japan by Pakistan's embassy.

“Pakistan will be able to create a market worth three to four million dollars in Japan within the next few years,” he said, adding that the country's fruit is expected to get a market price of over Rs350 per kilogram in Tokyo. Very few countries in the world have been able to meet the standard set by Japanese government and are exporting mango to Japan. These countries include Philippine, Thailand, Australia and South Africa.

To start the commercial trade of mango, a commercial VHT plant would be installed by next year for which the necessary steps have already been taken by the PFVA, Waheed said. It is worth mentioning here that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan was to inspect the existing plant before allowing the import of mango. The officials inspected the plant facility and machine performance.

The issue of VHT plant was also raised during the previous visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Japan but no development was made so far in this case.


Mango exporters meet Japan quality standards
July 17, 2011

Pakistani mango exporters have met the stringent quality standards of Japan and the first consignments were dispatched a few days ago.

KARACHI: Pakistani mango exporters have met stringent quality standards imposed by Japan and the first shipment of the fruit went to the Far Eastern country a couple of days ago, traders say.

Mango is being processed in a vapour heat treatment plant provided by Japan years ago in 1981. Owing to non-utilisation earlier, the plant had stopped working but fruit traders in collaboration with state-run Trade Development Authority started a drive in early 2010 to make the plant operational.

Before the start of exports to Japan, around 400 kilogrammes of mango was processed in the plant. To inspect the quality of these mangoes, Deputy Director Yokohama Plant Protection Station Nobutoshi Soma arrived in Karachi and after examination declared the fruit fit for export.

All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers and Exporters Association former chairman Wahid Ahmad said though Japan was a small market for Pakistani mangoes, but in terms of price it was an important market where mangoes could fetch Rs350 per kg. “The start of mango exports to Japan is a milestone for the horticulture industry,” he said.

With the new development, he said, more fruit exporters would adopt global good agricultural practices (GAP) which would further promote Pakistani fruits in the international market.

Ahmad said this year 2,000 kg of mangoes would be exported to Japan, of which first shipment of 250 kg had been sent. “This consignment will be offered as gift to Pakistan's embassy and Japanese authorities.”

In the next five years, the Japanese mango market could be worth $3 to $4 million for Pakistan as there were only a few countries which met Tokyo's quality standards, he pointed out. These countries included the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and South Africa.

Ahmad said mango exports to Japan would start on a commercial basis next year for which a new vapour heat treatment plant would be installed. The association has sent a proposal to the commerce ministry for setting up a common facility centre and a feasibility report on the project will be prepared in a month.

Income earned from the centre will be used for boosting production of fruits, introducing new varieties and conducting research for improving quality.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2011.