Pakistan's horticulture export potential at $ one billion
KARACHI: (APP) Pakistan's horticulture exports can easily fetch and also fulfill orders worth $1 billion through government support, said FPCCI Chairman for Regional Standing Committee on Horticulture Exports, Ahmad Jawad.
Talking to APP here on Wednesday, he said an exclusive package is urgently needed to catapult country's horticulture exports that amounted to $641 million in 2015-16 and holds every potential to grow further on strong and steady lines.
"We need urgent support in particular context of hot water treatment (HWT) plants and controlled atmosphere (CA) stores under equity sharing arrangements and incentives on freight-on-board (FOB) value," he said in reply to a question.
Mentioning that horticulture sector had gained immense significance in the world trade, during past two decades, he said developing countries have created a space for themselves in this market.
"Pakistan's share is, however, just 0.3 percent," he said reiterating that this can be markedly improved once the government extended needed assistance to the exporters.
"Infact we may also perform well under CPEC trade route," said Ahmad Jawad.
To another query, he said horticulture was one of the areas identified to be explored under a short-term export enhancement strategy adopted by the commerce ministry, however, concrete incentive is still awaited.
"This short-term export enhancement strategy is integral part of Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) for 2015-18," said the FPCCI office bearer.
Ahmad Jawad about a question, related to horticulture potential of Gilgit - Baltistan, said there was need to expand crop varieties there to ensure food security and produce export surpluses.
"Community-run water management has led to over and under irrigation," he said mentioning that water channels display low conveyance ability and demand recurrent maintenance because modern engineering concepts have not been deployed during construction of water channels.
About policy recommendations to improve the potential of the horticulture industry, he said R&D capacity can be enhanced to produce pre-basic and basic seeds on commercial scale followed by a centralized e-platform for marketing of locally-produced certified seeds can be of great help.
The FPCCI office bearer further recommended synchronizing extension services of provincial agriculture departments and the private-sector.
He also suggested upgradation of the Gilgit Airport to an all-weather airport coupled with prioritising of construction and maintenance of Tajikistan Road.
"Then there is also need for setting up of functional and equipped processing units in all seven districts of GB, he said.
"It must also be ensured that the department of agriculture and relevant departments may have more of technical staff than non-technical support staff," stressed the senior horticulturist and exporter.
Ahmad Jawad pointed out that Pakistan despite being the sixth largest apricot producer in the world holds negligible share in the global export market for apricot.
"While unprocessed apricots are bought at Rs. 6-7 a kilo-gram the foreign buyers purchase processed apricots at Rs. 300-500 a kilo- gram," he said.
He appreciated that the Aga Khan Research and Development Foundation under its Dry Fruit Project has recognised market potentials for GBs dry apricot, apple and mulberry.
"They are to be exported to UK," he said in reply to a question.