The prospects of opening up of African markets for Pakistani mangoes and kinnow have brightened as Kenya's Quarantine Department shows willingness to allow import of Pakistani fruits after agreement between the two countries.
Kenya is the gateway to East African market and after the formal permission from Kenya's Quarantine Department new avenues for Pakistani fruits, particularly mangoes and kinnow will open.
On the eve of the Pakistan Africa Trade Conference in Nairobi, Kenya's officials and importers met with Pakistani exporters of fruits and vegetables to discuss ways and means to enhance two-way trade, especially to sign quarantine agreement between the two countries.
Waheed Ahmed, patron-in-chief of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association, which represents the fruit and vegetable exporters in the Pakistani delegation, said that Kenya's quarantine authorities have already visited Pakistan and reviewed the processing of mangoes and kinnow with the quarantine system in Pakistan.
The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research has also completed their homework and sent propositions to Kenyan authorities. At a meeting in Nairobi, Kenyan officials had said that recommendations for the Pakistan-Africa quarantine agreement have been forwarded to the Kenyan government, whose approval would begin importing mangoes and kinnow from Pakistan, he added.
Waheed said that Kenya is the gateway to East Africa and can become a good market for Pakistani mangoes and kinnow. "If the quarantine agreement is reached, Pakistan will get a better market from next season which could become a stable market in next three years," he added.
Kenya is an appropriate market for citrus, which it imports from Morocco, Egypt and other countries, while there is no local mango available in summer in Kenya. So there are plenty of opportunities for Pakistani king of fruits, he maintained.
Kenya's private sector has also expressed interest in strengthening relations with Pakistan in horticulture sector. Exporters in Kenya have evinced interest in acquiring 'hot water treatment' technology from Pakistan.
Waheed said this technology has been made common in Pakistan by PFVA and the country can provide the technology to Kenya's private sector. There will also be follow-up meetings in the private sector of the two countries.
He said that now the ball is in Kenya's court. He urged Pakistani authorities to sign a quarantine deal with Kenya at the earliest and if Pakistani embassy in Nairobi remains vibrant, exports to Kenya may begin from upcoming season of mango, which will boost exports, and help fetch precious forex.