Thursday , October 19 2017
Home / Articles / Horticulture Industry / Gloomy Export of Fruits, Vegetables

Gloomy Export of Fruits, Vegetables




  • One of the ubiquitous features of Pakistan is the dilapidated state of roads. Urban populations constantly complain about their poor conditions. But they have little idea of what fate be falls the rural Pakistan. There may be thousands of miles of farm to market roads. That is a statistical statement with no bearing on ground conditions.


    One of the ubiquitous features of Pakistan is the dilapidated state of roads. Urban populations constantly complain about their poor conditions. But they have little idea of what fate be falls the rural Pakistan. There may be thousands of miles of farm to market roads. That is a statistical statement with no bearing on ground conditions.

    While there is never a dearth of desire or good intentions to boost farm produce exports, decision makers seem to be tackling the last problem first; it is the same with many intending exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables. Decisions tend to focus on packaging and air cargo facilities while the basic thing, the quality of the produce, often escapes attention of both producers and policy makers.

    Efficient and timely air cargo services and fare concessions are certainly essential. Their role, however, comes only when export material is available. Right now, there is no shortage of people who wish to export fruits and vegetables, nor really of importers in other countries. But can the produce from Pakistan compete with comparable goods from European countries in quality and purity? The answer is in the negative. The reasons are not far to seek and not linked with the facilities at the export point.

    Some of the basic requirements for farm produce for an internationally acceptable standard are by and large not met. The first negative factor is the residue to poisonous pesticides they carry.

    Fruit is relatively free of the problem, not entirely so, but vegetables are liable to be rejected on this count by quality conscious importers. Consignments of both fruits and vegetables are known to have been returned by the importers. This does not affect only a particular exporter but undermines the reputation of the commodity from Pakistan and blocks future exports.

    Stringent health standards are maintained by most countries importing fresh fruits and vegetables. They insist on the observance of these standards for imported stuff.

    Pakistan has ample opportunities for exporting dozen of fruits and quite a few vegetables, particularly those which are either not widely grown abroad or, while they are produced by many countries, Pakistan has an edge in respect of taste and food value.

    For instance, mangoes are grown in some countries in Asia and Africa but Pakistani varieties are reported to be more luscious and more palatable than those from other countries. They are, however, known to have carried the residue of pesticides even in the shipments of careful, quality conscious and meticulous exporters. This is truer of other fruits.

    Mango farming has been developed along sophisticated lines by progressive orchard owners; those growing other fruits generally stick to what are now regarded as outmoded ways. Their produce is affected. Conditions in vegetable fields are even less satisfying.

    A survey conducted by a federal government agency some time back on fruit and vegetables from the growers, fields and main selling outlets in NWFP, Balochistan and Islamabad to assess pesticide contamination only confirmed what was already known.

    Of the 250 samples in NWFP and Islamabad, 102 were found to be contaminated with a variety of pesticide residues. Of those, 53 contained high quantities of pesticides which means, ‘in excess of permissible international limits’. There could be no room for such exports to the quality-oriented markets with commitment to health considerations.

    Those samples were assessed as dangerous for the health of consumers. According to the study, they could ’cause various short and long term side effects’.

    A similar survey in Balochistan revealed a less disturbing picture. Of the 50 samples, 19 were found contaminated though only one exceeded internationally agreed maximum residue limits. The survey is not very recent. Conditions have been turning more and more demanding all the time while there has been no corresponding improvement in Pakistan in these areas.

    No survey has ever been conducted of the conditions in which these commodities reach the market or the state in which they may be at the time of export. There are two major hazards on the way. Both undermine the commodity’s acceptability abroad.

    The first problem is the picking of the crop. Harvesting practices in most, if not all, farms are antiquated. Fruit is plucked crudely. A good percentage of these falls on the ground; it gets bruised. This escapes the attention of most of the farmers mainly because they do not consider such marks as defects. Apples, mangoes, peaches, all suffer from old fashioned harvesting methods.

    These marks are quite visible by the time fruit reaches the importers. There is actually the possibility that fruit is both contaminated and bruised. That leads to rejection rather than bigger orders for the next season. Vegetables are harvested in an even more slipshod manner.

    Some fruit growers have learnt the ropes in the international markets but a vast majority of vegetable farmers is yet to become even marginally acquainted with the requirements of the international markets.

    As a first step to boosting fresh fruit exports; harvesting practices need to be improved and modernized. What sells abroad is not mere tastefulness; that comes later. How the commodity looks is more important. And fruit and vegetables exported from Pakistan certainly look less inviting.

    If the crop meets the health and appearance requirements, it stands little chance of crossing the next hurdle unless the grower is fully alive to the demands of the international market and has not only ensured injury-free harvesting but also that it does not get mishandled on the way to the export point and has taken all the necessary precautions and arranged professional packing. But it is not in his power to protect his commodity from transportation hazards.

     One of the ubiquitous features of Pakistan is the dilapidated state of roads. Urban populations constantly complain about their poor conditions. But they have little idea of what fate be falls the rural Pakistan. There may be thousands of miles of farm to market roads. That is a statistical statement with no bearing on ground conditions.

     Only a little distance from the main urban centres is a network which is given the grandiose title of farm to market roads. The network is there; roads are virtually nonexistent.

     Anyone who has been to a fruit and vegetable market in a European city would realise that a consignment consisting of such badly handled contents would be unwelcome. The importer would reject it at first sight. We do have a variety of quality and palatable fruit and good vegetables but they are not processed for export purposes. That aspect does not feature in the planning of exports.

     Another thing to be kept in mind is that foreign markets have to be assiduously created and retained. Facilities at airports, efficient storage, concessional fare and priority handling of fresh fruit and vegetable cargo would certainly help boost exports.

    COPYRIGHT 2000 Economic and Industrial Publications

    COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

    About admin

    Check Also

    Malva Herb: Traditional and Medicinal Use

    Report Issue: * Suggest Edit Copyright Infringment Claim Article Invalid Contents Broken Links Your Name: …

    Leave a Reply

    Be the First to Comment!

    Notify of
    avatar
    wpDiscuz