Over 15 Pakistani firms and around 50 exhibitors participated in the "FRUIT LOGISTICA 2013," the world's biggest fair for fruits/vegetables held in Berlin, Germany with the aim of introducing the country's fruits to buyers/importers from over 120 countries gathered under one roof.
The mega event opened here on Wednesday where over 2,543 exhibitors from 78 countries presented the entire value chain of fresh produce. Some 55,000 trade visitors from 120 countries have come to Berlin. The prominent exhibitors from across the world were presenting not only the entire product and service range that so amply supplies consumers with fresh fruit and vegetables, but also numerous interesting industry innovations that serve as a valuable driving force in the industry, increasing the variety of options for the consumer.
In the three days fair (February 6 to 8, 2013) members of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetables Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA), other concerned organisations and Pakistan Horticulture Export Development Company (PHEDC), have set up separate stalls while displaying the country's fresh fruits, vegetables, mango pulps and other value added products.
On Wednesday, Ilse Aigner, Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of Germany also visited Pakistani Pavilion. According to her, Berlin has become the center of attention for the international world of fruit and vegetables where 2400 exhibitors from around 80 countries are showcasing their products. The fresh-cut convenience sector has taken part at the trade fair. More liberalization of fresh products trade is needed in the world.
On the first day of the exhibition, selected Pakistani and Asian dignitaries and a large number of visitors of the event were also found visiting the Pakistani pavilion and showed keen interest in the fresh fruit including Kinnow, mango (juice and pulps) etc.
Talking to Business Recorder, Waheed Ahmed, Chairman, PFVA said that the association and its members were attending the event with the aim/objective that major markets of the world could be tapped during this fair as buyers, exporters and businessmen from more than 100 countries were visiting the event.
According to him, Fruit Logistica is an important event where almost all the best quality fruit/vegetables are displayed from a large number of countries. Though Pakistani fruits like mango and kinnow have no parallel in EU, and some western markets, issues like lack of supply chain and value addition were needed to be addressed by both the government and concerned authorities.
"Display, presentation and innovation were the most important things along with good quality fruits in order to tap the European and highly valued western markets," he said adding that Pakistan was lagging behind in the fruit and vegetable industry despite being an agriculture-based country. "We have only two or three selected items in fruit and vegetable sector while dozens of highly valued items are yet to be given due considerations to make them also exportable," he added.
According to him, Pakistan is actively participating in the Fruit Logistica for the last four years and Islamabad has received an import order worth over 1 million Euros last year and better response is expected this year. With active marketing and efforts the country could easily get at least 25 million Euro worth share in the region in the next five years.
Super markets and big chain stores in the EU markets could be the first and easy step to introduce our fruits like mango, kinnow, dates, potato, onion mango pulps and apple juice concentrates. Talking to Business Recorder, Waqar Khilji, Pakistani Commercial Attaché in Berlin said that the event was very helpful to search for more markets for Pakistani products. However, the disruption in supply, lack of certification with globally approved quality/standards and value addition were the issues that needed to be addressed for better share in the western markets.
Numbers of presentations were also made by different experts on various subjects related to the fresh fruit/vegetable industry on Wednesday. According to a presentation 860 million tonnes of vegetables and 730 million tonnes of fruit were produced world-wide in 2012. Production figures for both fruit and vegetables have steadily increased over the past few years. The EU is the world's leading import region for fresh fruit. The US and Russia are also key countries when it comes to the export of fresh fruit and vegetables outside of Europe.