ISLAMABAD - Citrus (Kinnow) has become a major export item, but it has largely failed to reach its true potential because lack of proper focus and research.

The growth of this industry in the country can be possible only when the dominating role of middleman is diminished in the whole process and the exports of citrus fruit could be enhanced manifold provided the farmers are provided direct benefit, said Ahmad Jawad, Senior Member ICCI.

Talking to media, he said It’s time for Pakistan’s planners to realise national credibility came before the actual quality of consignments, highlighting the need for an integrated pest management plan; In the last few years country has regularly lost and regained some export markets because it could not ensure quality of the produce. But it has hardly found new ones by improving domestic production, both in quality and variety.

He said unfortunately, each time a ban is slapped, all official and unofficial efforts are riveted on dealing with that particular situation arising out of that single ban. There has been scant effort to deal with issues that lead to the ban in the first place.”

However government institutions like the Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Company (PHDEC) played the roles of “trouble shooters” rather than strategic planners.

The annual production of citrus on an average is estimated about two million tons, of which 90pc is kinnow, Currently, the world market for citrus is valued more than $2.135 billion in which Pakistan’s share has remained $33 million per annum, just around 2.5 percent.

Jawad highlighted that our fruit has so far failed to make a foothold in European markets because of its high seed content and has consequently been limited to lower end markets.”

On the other hand Pakistani mandarins had been suffering skin blemish diseases for several decades.