Pakistan is feared to lose Russian market for its fruits and vegetable as the foreign country has made a private lab’s certificate mandatory for future export. The Russian Quarantine team, which was recently on a visit to Pakistan disclosed that Pakistani exporters have to get a certificate from a private lab, M/a “Green Foundation “located at Lahore for export consignments destined to Russia in addition to usual Phyto – sanitary certificate from the PPD.
The mandatory certification from only one lab/company, having also not up to mark facility, has not only risked the export worth $70 million but the exporter also smell a rat in the motive to get approved a particular private lab out of numerous other facilities in the country.
In a letter sent to Ministry of Commerce on November 20, Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) has informed the ministry that “On our serious reservations that approving a particular private lab would lead to likely monopoly and corruption as being the single approved lab, in Pakistan and subsequently cause serious consequential impact on exports to Russia.
The Russian team visited Punjab and Sindh to inspect Potato, Mango and Kinnow growing areas, and testing facilities in the country, argued that this lab has technical expertise including Molecular test while others labs do not. The fact of the matter is neither this lab is registered with the PPD nor PPD has any credential of this Lab.”
“Despite our logical and convincing argument, they did not agree and have given a clear indication to go ahead with the same shortly. We strongly feel that insisting for approval of one particular private labs out of numerous do indicate that there is some ‘vested interest” behind such motive’. Inflexibility of the team to logically analyse very convincing and sound arguments given by the PFVA and not involving this important stakeholder in the consultation process before picking up this lab further strengthen our doubts about some sort of ‘game plan behind this move”, it added.
It further said “our own investigation has revealed that this is a private lab, having insufficient testing facilities and sub-standard equipments and also lacks required technical expertise, which despite all such serious limitations have been approved by the Russian for issuance certificates. Does that not reflect there is no smoke without a fire”? We had already shared our serious concerns about this lab, with the PPD and TDAP and they fully endorse our reservations.”
With serious limitations of this lab as highlighted above there is a big question mark as to how can this single lab would be in a position to handle huge export consignments, which are mostly exported from Karachi while its located in Lahore. Besides, the cost factor and tedious process would certainly pose a serious problem as well.
Requesting the ministry to get the issue seriously and take necessary decision, PFVA said that in backdrop of Kinnow season, which is about to commence and serious efforts needed be made to address this issue which would likely to cause grave consequences to export of Pakistan simply translating into loss of huge foreign exchange earnings besides demoralising the exporters. Pakistan was previously exporting around 2500 containers of potato and 2200 containers of Kinnow worth $25 million and $43 million respectively.