ISLAMABAD - Director Harvest Tradings Ahmad Jawad said Pakistani agriculture products are the best in the world, yet the sector has not excelled to its true potential.

He said, the focus of untrained people in the horticulture field has been on increasing production, rather than on improving the quality of the product.

Talking to Upper Reach GM, Ms Paulina Gallardo, he said Pakistan enjoy its place as the fifth largest producer of mangoes, fourth largest producer of dates and thirteenth largest producer of citrus and 10th largest in apples, but the lack of post-harvest and cold chain infrastructure is seriously hampering Pakistan’s horticulture export potential.

As every year, 2.2 million tons of vegetables and 2.8 - 3 million tons of fruits go to waste during and after harvest. This is a big loss roughly 30 percent of Pakistan’s total vegetable production and about 40 percent of fruits are being wasted.

However quality-conscious foreign buyers want every exporting country to align their supply chains as per international standards in order to expand its share in the international market, but unfortunately, lack of awareness among Pakistani exporters regarding global food safety standards, cohesive supply chains, and marketing systems are to blame for keeping the volume of the country’s produce export low. Jawad said the reality is clear: horticulture exports can only be boosted if we can develop an integrated quality system.