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KARACHI: Pakistan's fruits & vegetables exports have witnessed a healthy growth during the last fiscal year despite coronavirus global pandemic.

Overall, export of fruits and vegetables posted a 12.5 percent or $730 million growth, which is highest-ever revenue in terms of foreign exchange generation. During last year, the export of fruits moved up by 3.8 percent while the vegetables exports registered an increase of 28 percent. Export of fruits fetched $431.27 million while export of the vegetables generated $30 million.

Waheed Ahmed, the Patron-in-Chief, All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters ,Importers & Merchants Association (PFVA) has said that at the time when the global trade was facing stiff challenges and it was almost impossible to ensure timely delivery of Pakistani fruits & vegetables to the importing countries due to the pandemic & resulting lock downs, the PFVA translated these challenges into opportunity by enhancing exports of this sector (fruits & vegetables ).

This is possible with the support of the government's realistic strategies. The Federal Govt. extended all out support & assistance to the exporters and took timely decisions in removal of barriers to the enhancement of exports, he added.

Pakistan sensing difficulties in export by Air adopted alternative strategy to export by land and sea routes. Special attention was given to the Iran and Afghanistan and the federal government promptly resolved the issues related faced by this sector in export to Iran & Afghanistan leading to enhancement of exports, he maintained.

At the time when the Coronavirus global pandemic was emerging fast, Pakistan grabbed this unique opportunity and enhanced export of Kinnow, Potato and Onion despite serious issues of transportation & logistics arising of the pandemic.

During the peak of the pandemic, Pakistan exported delicious and highly nutrient mangoes to many countries of the World. Extensive efforts by the PFVA also resulted in reduction of Air freight charges by PIA to Gulf countries & International market of UAE facilitating exporters to compete in these highly demanding & competitive markets.

Likewise, after ban on export of Onion by India, the PFVA convinced the government to lift the temporary restriction on export of Pakistani onion thus leading to increase in exports while price of onion & Potato remained stable in the local market as well and the growers got benefit of this stability, Waheed said.

He said that besides maintaining consistency in exports' enhancement of fruits & vegetables, it's also imperative to take necessary steps to further boost the export of this sector.

To attain this objective, the PFVA has already presented a comprehensive road map titled - "Horticulture Vision 2030" to the federal government which has been developed with extensive consultation with all concerned stakeholders of the Horticulture sector of all the provinces & it spells out issues of the sector along with realistic solutions.

He mentioned that Pakistan can easily enhance export of fruits & vegetables to $ 1 billion within a period of two years, $ 2 billion in five years and to $ 6 billion in a decade, if the Horticulture Vision 2030 will be followed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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