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KARACHI: Kinnow exports going slow in the ongoing season and in last one month, processing units were working at 50 percent output, Vice President of Pakistan Businesses Forum and former FPCCI Chairman on Agriculture, Ahmad Jawad said.

Jawad said it's mainly due to lack of acceptance in Afghanistan and Iran markets through land route. In previous seasons Pakistani kinnow mostly routed through Afghanistan for CIS states, but this time the acceptability is less.

He expressed the fear that if the situation goes like this till the end of the season, kinnow export target could drop to 70,000 tons.

As total production of kinnow is around 2.1 million tons, however, the production of quality exportable kinnow is appropriate. The country's kinnow industry worth $781 million and the entire economy of Punjab's Bhalwal and Sargodha areas depends on kinnow cultivation. Some 250 kinnow processing facilities in the region provide direct employment to 250,000 people.

He said Iran is the second largest market for kinnow. If it opens timely the export of the product will increase by 40 percent but our previous efforts in this regard went in vain, the PBF official said and urged the Iranian government to allow kinnow exports from 1st February for two months or through barter trade.

Jawad said India had also started the kinnow production in last three to four years which will be a threat to Pakistan in the international market. "Apart from the structural flaws in our horticulture sector, the ongoing weaker rupee and high-inflation phenomenon may also play havoc."

The cost of growing fruits and vegetables has been on the rise after substantial rupee depreciation. The headline inflation is scaling new highs every month. The increased cost of inputs is also making it difficult for fruit and vegetable exporters to remain competitive in international markets, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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