KARACHI: Kinnow exports are going slow in the ongoing season, mostly because of lack of acceptance in Afghanistan and Iran market through land routes, an industry official said on Friday.
“Citrus exports have been sluggish in the first month of the season with processing units working at 50 percent of their output capacity,” said Ahmad Jawad, Vice President Pakistan Businesses Forum in a statement.
Jawad said in previous seasons Pakistani kinnow was mostly routed through Afghanistan for Central Asain states, but this time the acceptability was less.
“If the situation doesn’t change, Pakistan can miss kinnow exports can drop to 70,000 tons, missing the target by a big margin by the end of season.”
Jawad said as total production of kinnow was around 2.1 million ton, the production of quality exportable kinnow was appropriate.
The country’s kinnow industry is worth around Rs125 billion ($781 million) and the entire economy of Punjab’s key Bhalwal and Sargodha areas depends on kinnow cultivation. Some 250 kinnow processing facilities in the region provide direct employment to 250,000 people.
He said Iran was the second largest market for kinnow export, if it opened timely the export of product would increase 40 percent but our previous efforts in this regard put in vain which we did.
Jawad urged the Iranian government to allow kinnow exports from February 1 for the period of two months or through barter trade.
He highlighted that India had also started the production of kinnow from the last three to four years, which would be a threat to Pakistan in the international market.
“Apart from the structural flaws in our horticulture sector the ongoing weaker rupee and high-inflation are also playing havoc,” he said adding, “The cost of growing fruits and vegetables has been on the rise after substantial rupee depreciation in the past year and headline inflation now scaling new heights every month”. Increased cost of inputs was also making it difficult for fruit and vegetable exporters to remain competitive in international markets, he added.
Source: The News