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Secretary General (Federal) of Businessmen Panel (BMP), Ahmad Jawad has said Pakistan horticulture export policy is vital for boosting nontraditional exports. "In the last few years unfortunately we don't have viable policy from the economic managers of the country," he added.

He said, "Pakistan is blessed with exotic taste of fruits and vegetables and the kind of value we have in our fruits its second to none compared to other parts of the country and yet this sector was only contributed around $600 million dollars only, which is even below its potential. Our priority must be to increase this figure up to two billion dollars annually."

Jawad said the world horticulture exports trade exceeds from 180 billion dollars and our regional competitors like China and India are one of the key players in this industry through value addition but in our last 70 years the concerned ministries didn't work on it aggressively, the more down fall started when we devolve agriculture and its allied sectors to provinces through 18th Amendment.

He said yet country mangoes, apple, potato exports are in meager volumes which needs to be increased, including the precious fruits from Gilgit Baltistan (GB) are not even dully utilize for exports due to lack of infrastructure. Though JICA, USAID, European Union provided some grants for export infrastructure of these products but lack of assistance from the government time to time was one the basic hurdle.

Jawad said that our exports were stagnant from the last ten years due to our only reliance on the textile exports because of the heavy lobbying by the textile millers before the government.

The sooner textile industry was in hot waters, the country doesn't have alternative plan for the continuity of the exports and in result even in the year of 2020 to cross $25 billion benchmark look like a magical figure for us despite massive devaluation of the rupee.

In past if we focused on horticulture exports and other potential sectors today we are in comfortable position, he remarked.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020