It is indeed a crying shame that Pakistan has zero shares in the around one billion dollar Japan and United States (combined) mango market, according to Pakistan Fruits & Vegetables Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PF&VEIMA). The reason is lack of quarantine facilities. Different countries follow different standards. Generally three standards are followed.
For UK & Middle East it is GlobalGAP which Pakistan exporters have, Japan requires that mangoes be given Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT) and in United States mangoes must go through irradiation process before they are allowed in the country. Pakistan could enter the dollars 200 million Japanese mango market, exporting mangoes worth dollars 12 million annually if we could manage to have VHT plants installed to process 1,500 metric tons in 50 days of mango season. Talking to Business Recorder here on Monday Waheed Ahmed, co-chairman, PF&VEIMA said with a little effort Pakistan could enter world markets in a big way and reach astronomical proportions, fetching seven billion dollars annually by exporting fresh fruits, value added tinned fruits, pulp and vegetables in just 10 years from its present size of 530 million dollars only.
Pakistan had the potential, it only needed a push, he said. "Only in the value added world of three billion dollar in this sector we could easily claim a share of 25 percent from present exports of four to five million," he claimed. Young and energetic Waheed Ahmed, who holds degrees from UK and US universities confidently, says "Yes we can achieve that staggering figure of seven billion dollars if we were to concentrate just on two items only, ie seedless Kinnow and Oranges".
Oozing self confidence and enthusiasm, he hardly misses any exhibition related to fruits and vegetable held in any part of the globe in his zest to push country's exports and learn latest technology to upgrade our systems to match with those available anywhere in the world. He said that by sowing early and late varieties and introducing new varieties of seedless kinnow Pakistan could earn up to dollars 300 million annually and further have its presence felt in the eight billion dollars world orange industry as well where it has no share at present. The country could easily fetch two billion dollars if we were to promote these two items only.
Being the Managing Director of Iftekhar Ahmed & Co, one of the biggest fruit and vegetable exporters, annual exports being 9.5 million dollars, and thoroughly dissatisfied with the performance of Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC), he is convinced that it is the private sector which could turn the tables as public sector has not done much in pushing exports of fruits and vegetables and encouraging value addition in this sector.
To meet quarantine and GlobalGAP standards that are necessary requirements for exporting mangoes to UK and other Middle East countries, latest plants imported from Germany and Italy have been installed in his sprawling factory situated at new fruit & vegetables market on super highway where mangoes are given hot water treatment to conform to GlobalGAP specifications before the fruit is exported. PHDEC's role has been rather abysmal as it has neither been able to arrange irradiation facilities nor installation of VHT plants to be able to facilitate exporters starting sending the fruit which has high demand in those countries.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2012