ISLAMABAD         -          Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI)’s Businessmen Panel Secretary General (Federal), Ahmad Jawad on Sunday said ongoing rains and cold weather is putting good impacts on Kinnow orchards and overall citrus yield would also be enhanced during current season. According to the press release issued by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry, it is expected kinnow fruit may easily meet export target. He said that rainy season also wash leaf rust which also causing diseases, adding that branches of citrus trees had faced dryness attack during last year due to low irrigation.

“The orchards were affected during last season and overall yield was reduced, he said and added that current season was putting supportive impacts to meet the orchard’s needs”.

Jawad said the country is exporting a greater quantity of fruits and vegetables, but forex gains remain limited. The reason is we are not investing in those technologies that are a must for enhancing outputs and improving quality of exports. Besides, our effort to reach out to new export markets needs impetus. As a relevant example, total export of citrus around the globe was $14.8 billion but Pakistan only had a contribution of around $180 million despite we produced more than two million tons of kinnow annually.

Currently there are many varieties of citrus in the world but Pakistan produced only a few which needs to be enhanced to increase the exports. He also suggested elimination of duties for value addition and interest-free loans for the farmers.

“Iran is the second largest market for kinnow export. If it opens, the export of product will increase by 40% but our efforts in this regard put in vain which we did from last few years” he said.

Jawad further highlighted that India had also started the production of kinnow from the last three to four years which will be a threat to Pakistan in the international market. “Apart from the structural flaws in our horticulture sector the ongoing weaker rupee and high-inflation phenomenon is also playing havoc. The cost of growing fruits and vegetables has been on the rise after substantial rupee depreciation in the past year and headline inflation now scaling new heights every month”. Increased cost of inputs is also making it difficult for fruit and vegetable exporters to remain competitive in international markets.