Pakistan, which has lost various lucrative international markets of agricultural products to India, is now facing stiff competition in value-added horticulture products, particularly in Gulf region. Due to big difference in prices, Pakistani exporters are finding it difficult to tap highly valued markets, especially in the gulf region for fruit products like mango, pulp and concentrates of apple, dates and horticulture products.
The incompetitiveness of Pakistani products in the neighbouring markets is apparently because of the lack of government support and best agricultural practices, availability of research & development (R&D) facilities, presence of better quality, lower cost and value added products of India for the last over 35 years.
Fruit concentrates/pulps were another Pakistani products being uncompetitive in the international market after rice, sugar and wheat mainly due to tough competition with Indian products, Chairman Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA), Waheed Ahmed told Business Recorder after his participation in the recently held Gulffood-2013 in Dubai.
Being one of the leading exporters of horticulture products himself, Waheed said that the 18th edition of Gulffood was attended by over 40 Pakistani firms besides 4,200 companies from 110 countries. Thousands of prospective importers and visitors from all around the world had visited the mega event at the Dubai World Trade Centre. With record exhibition space of 113,398m² hosting thousands of companies from across the world Gulffood 2013 was the largest and a high profile international show in the event’s history.
According to Waheed, world market for mango pulp is around 0.215 million tones of which India holds 70 percent share in production and exports. Pakistan despite having good quality mango is legging behind as the country has no significant share in the world market of mango pulp.
The demand is at least 1.2 million tones for apple concentrates which is being met by China, the largest exporter of the value added product. However, he said that for the first time his company has prepared the apple concentrates which is ready for export to various countries. He suggested that the government which is already providing subsidy to wheat, rice and sugar sectors should come forward to support horticulture products specially the value added products. Besides, introduction of new technologies and machinery is also needed in the country. The functionality of the existing companies is only because of zero entrance of new companies in the market.
Not only in the value added sector but also fresh fruits of Pakistan are going to be uncompetitive in the international markets in the absence of best agricultural practices, and investment on research and development. According to Waheed buyers/visitors from 25 countries including, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Canada, America etc had visited the stall/display centre of his firm in Gulffood show resulting in encouraging business deals.