Kinnow exports are likely to take a hit this season as exporters fear a shortfall of $10 million as a result of lack of research and improvement in quality and variety. They said export target was likely to be missed by 100,000 tons. They said that calculating on the basis of available official figures, in December 2013, $10 million Kinnow was exported which means that by middle of March 2014 when the Kinnow season ends, with maximum efforts, $50 million Kinnow would be exported as compared to the last year’s exports of $60 million.
One of the exporters said that farmers didn’t get appropriate rates of Kinnow due to shrinking export orders as a result of poor performance of exporters in the international markets. For the first time, he said Kinnow rate at farm dropped to Rs 100 per 40 kg in the out going month signalling that the 300,000 tons target for the export of Kinnow would be a distant dream. In the light of current scenario the country would hardly be able to export 200,000 tons.
Senior member, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Ahmad Jawad told Business Recorderthat to overcome the maladies it was necessary that Ministry of Commerce must constitute a team of reputable exporters to advice on measures to enhance Kinnow exports. The fruit is a major export item but it has failed to reach its true potential due to lack of proper focus and research.
He said the growth of Kinnow industry could be possible only if the dominating role of middleman was eliminated or at least reduced in the export process, adding that also important was the element of farmer. Exports of citrus fruit, he said, could be enhanced manifold provided farmers were given direct benefit because farmers didn’t get appropriate rate for Kinnow.
In this connection, he also mentioned the role of planners “who should realise the importance of credibility instead of quality and quantity of consignments.” Highlighting the need for an integrated pest management plan, he said that in the last few years, country had regularly lost and regained some export markets because it could not ensure the quality of produce. He regretted that new markets had not been found as there had been no improvement in quality and variety in domestic production.
Jawad said annual production of citrus on an average was estimated about two million tons, of which 90 percent was Kinnow. Currently, the world market for citrus is valued at more than $2.135 billion in which Pakistan’s share has remained at $33 million per annum, just around 2.5 percent.
On the question of new ventures, he said “we will never be able to break into advanced markets until we build entrepreneurship factor in Kinnow sector including knowledge of quality standards, ie, GAP and SPS and other certification requirements in the private sector.” Government must facilitate accredited laboratories, train qualified people and lay emphasis on export certification, he urged.