KARACHI - Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Regional Standing Committee Chairman Ahmad Jawad has urged the government to announce incentives for horticulture exporters in the upcoming budget so that this sector may perform as per its potential.

He said, “Horticulture exports contributed $641 million in 2015-16 and still a lot of room of improvement is there if we get proper policy from the government”. While talking to group of fruit exporters, Jawad said the PHDEC didn’t work until ministry officials realise the importance of this organisation, mostly officials of the commerce ministry believed that after 18th amendment, horticulture sector is now under the mandate of the provinces and the federal government has nothing do with it.

The FPCCI official said that when kinnow or mango sector achieved the target of exports the commerce ministry was the first who stood up in front of media for taking the credit, but when it comes for some financial support then ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ would be their answer.

He said, in recent years, developing countries have created a space for themselves in this market, but they are not able to move beyond 4 percent to 5 percent of the world trade and in comparison Pakistan's share is just 0.3 percent. "However under Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) for 2015-18, the commerce ministry chalked out a Short-Term Export Enhancement Strategy and under it, the ministry has identified four areas including horticulture but it has been given no importance practically," he lamented.

The FPCCI official also demanded the government to announce incentives for horticulture exporters in the upcoming budget. These include 10 percent of invoice value (FOB) be reimbursed to exporter, 15 percent of the Invoice Value (C&F) on successful exploration of new market be reimbursed to exporter for a three-year period to meet the marketing costs, and import duty on horticultural processing machinery be exempted.

Similarly, include setting up of common facilities for fruit and vegetables on public-private partnership (PPP). These include irradiation treatment unit, hot water treatment, vapour heat treatment, pack house, cold storages and bulk scanners at export terminals including Gawadr Port may be announced by the government through proper package.

Similarly in the research and development field, a fund worth Rs8 billion may be developed over a period of three years for promotion of horticultural produces under the collaboration of Planning Commission, Ministry of National Food security, Ministry of Commerce and the representative of provincial agriculture ministries, he mentioned.