Fruit and vegetable export of $70 million
November 22, 2012
Exports to Russia difficult this season, exporters warn ministry
* Say condition to test exportable products at Lahore-based facility unacceptable
By Tanveer Sher
KARACHI: The exporters of $70 million worth of fruit and vegetable products to Russia have warned the Ministry of Commerce that they would not be able to export any product to Russia this season (December 2012 to March 2013), as the Russian authorities have imposed a condition on export.
All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers and Exporters and Merchant Association Chairman Waheed Ahmad claimed that recently a 12-member delegation of the Russian Plant and Protection Department had a comprehensive visit to different fruits and vegetable growing areas of Sindh and Punjab from November 12 and November 18..
Majority of orchards and fruit processing factories were in total conformity with the required international standard but members of the delegation during a later meeting decided to declare mandatory certification of exported items by a private Lahore-based laboratory, Green Foundation.
The condition was disapproved by majority of exporters, which also informed Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Russia Plant Protection Department about the emerging situation, which may hamper fruit and vegetable export process to Russia from the current year.
Ahmad asserted that currently Pakistan’s total kinnow export to Russia stands in the range of $40 million to $50 million and $20 million to $50 million for potato, which is always in high demand.
The exporters have serious objections over selection of private laboratory by the Russian delegation specially existing standard of testing facilities. They have also informed the Commerce Ministry and Federal National Food Security Department.
Expressing their reservations over the selection of the laboratory, the exporters are of the view that majority of fruit and vegetable exporters of the country are carried from Karachi and it would be very time consuming for them to send samples of exportable items to Lahore-based laboratory, which may also push overall export cost of all items.
Commerce Secretary Munir Qureshi was also sent an SOS by the exporters to resolve the issue on war footing well before the start of kinnow export season scheduled for December 1.
The Russian delegation had made it categorically clear that non-implementation on the protocol condition would entail strict quarantine checking of all exported items and in case of any anomaly or substandard export consignment of all kinds of items may be completely banned.
A leading exporter talking to the scribe claimed that this year Pakistan potato export is likely to surge manifold in view of forecast of extreme winter season in Russia, which may affect local yield of the vegetable.
Around two years ago similar situation had helped Pakistani exporters to export around two million tonnes of potato to Russia helping them to earn substantial foreign revenue in the process.
Courtesy: Daily Times