Kinnow exporters may benefit from better ties with India’
December 28, 2012
Not many Pakistanis realise that India is one of Pakistan’s most important trading partners. It has been so for many years now, despite wars, terrorist attacks like Mumbai 2008, Kargil, and a host of other diplomatic and military misadventures, according to CEO Harvest Trading and Member Export, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Ahmad Jawad.
Pakistani exporters could benefit from improved ties with India for increasing exports of kinnow from Pakistan but inadequate infrastructure is hampering growth in trade between Pakistan and India through land route. With the shortest land route access from main fruit producing areas of Pakistan and a huge population consuming kinnow, India could be the best market for export of the delicious winter fruit which would be operational in January 2013, he said adding that free trade and frequent interactions could result in making our farming high-tech with lesser cost, due to proximity of the two countries.
He said that Indians rated Pakistani kinnow equal in value to Australian oranges. By exporting kinnow to India, our exporters could save a big portion of transportation expenditure as compared to other countries. According to an estimate; Pakistan could export 40,000 tons of Kinnow to India, annually. There is no doubt India is also the largest importer of Pakistani dates; last year it imported dates worth Rs three billion which we could enhance by another Rs one billion extra easily.
Similarly, our agriculture sector still has a few concerns in the wake of trade liberalisation with India vis-à-vis subsidies provided to its agriculture sector by India. It provides huge subsidies and support prices to agriculture sector on diesel, fertiliser, and electricity which would make Pakistan’s agriculture produce less competitive in relation to that of India. Secondly, there were colossal post-harvest losses in Pakistan due to lack of technology; Jawad said.
On average, each agriculture hectare gets a subsidy of $300 per year in India,” This works out to be around Rs 11,900 per acre of subsidy or 30 maunds average production of any commodity”. We need a cautious approach during the process of opening trade with India.
Despite persistent apprehensions and over 65 years of uncertain political ties between India and Pakistan, “I firmly believe that things can now move faster in the right direction as the two sides want to push forward their relations, especially in trade and commerce. If you especially look at the progress in the last 10 months, you will notice that India and Pakistan have moved too fast in promoting economic relations, he said. With this accelerated pace, Jawad said he had no doubt that the two neighbours could achieve bilateral trade target of over $10 billion in next few years but with level -playing field.