The transporters’ strike lasting weeks last month reduced the export of Kinnow by more than 6,000 tons worth $3.6 million in December last year, confining export of the fruit to around 39,000 tons worth $23.4 million. In a statement issued on Friday, Chairman of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association Waheed Ahmed claimed that the country expected an output of at least 1.8 million tons of Kinnow, adding that this season’s export target was 200,000 tons.
“If the target is achieved, Pakistan will earn foreign exchange worth $120 million,” he said. According to him, Pakistan exported citrus fruit to Ukraine, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, England, Kuwait, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Oman and Bahrain.
However, due to economic sanctions imposed by the United States, Pakistan’s largest market for Kinnow, Iran, remained untapped this year. “There was no significant export of the fruit this year against 25,000 tons exported to Iran last year,” he said. The lucrative market of Indonesia also remained closed for Pakistani Kinnow after it imposed high import duty. The duty could have been lifted or reduced if the already signed Preferential Trade Agreement between the two countries had been implemented, he said.
“At least 20,000-25,000 tons of the fruit can be exported to Indonesia if the agreement is implemented soon.” He said that the $1,500 per container General Rate Increase (GRI) imposed by shipping lines was also causing an increase in the cost of exports. The association, he claimed, had suggested Shipping Lines to link GRI with the distance of exportable items/fruit.