March 29, 2014
Despite a complete ban by Iran on the import of Pakistani Kinnow and impact of temporary ban imposed by Russia on the import of fruits/vegetables from Pakistan last year, the country would surpass the 300,000 metric tons (MT) Kinnow export target. Since the season is still on, a further export of 15,000 MT to 20,000 MT is expected by the end of April, spokesman and former chairman, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association, (PFVA) Waheed Ahmed told Business Recorder here on Friday.
He said despite multiple challenges Pakistan’s Kinnow (mandarins) exports were showing a rapid growth since last year, and that year the country had met the export target before the season ends. According to him, exporters have exported over 305,000 MT Kinow worth $180 million so far despite the fact that almost 50 percent of the crop was badly affected by the climatic change in the country. The production of Kinnow this year was at least 2,100,000 MT.
Beside the climatic hazards, door to Iranian market remained completely closed for the country’s fruits causing the loss of over 80,000 MT worth exports this year. However, an export of 40,500 MT was made to Indonesia with an increase of 15 percent following the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) signed by the two countries, Waheed said. He said a temporary ban imposed by Russia on import of fruit/vegetable from Pakistan had also caused substantial loss to fresh fruit exports as the country had exported only 62,000 MT to Moscow against the expected figure of 73,000 MT. The late opening of trade by the foreign country has caused loss of at least 11,000 MT worth of exports to the lucrative market.
This year, he said Kinnow was exported to the traditional and non-traditional buyers including united Kingdom, Canada, Philippine, Rotterdam (Nether land) Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Waheed Ahmed said the present export figure, mainly in few million dollars could easily be turned into billions of dollars provided the environment and facilities of Research and Development (R&D) were created in the country.
In the mainstream market segment, the Pakistani Kinnow has to compete with seedless mandarin and clementine from various countries like Spain, Morocco, Argentina and South Africa. Smaller in average size and hard to peel, mandarins from competitors were claiming a larger market share because of being seedless, he said. Besides, he claimed that the ‘early’ and ‘late’ varieties of Kinnow, successfully introduced by some competitors, were needed to be introduced to prolong the season and availability of quality fruits.
This way the traditional season of December to April could be changed with into an eight months long season from October to May. In order to achieve that, research and development on seedless and other varieties of Kinnow needs to be fast-tracked, Waheed Ahmed emphasised.