ISLAMABAD - Indonesia has enjoyed free access to the Pakistan market for many items, including palm oil, for the past six years and part of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) signed by two countries recently, Pakistani exporters expect the same unhindered market access for kinnow export, said Chief Executive Officer Harvest Tradings, Ahmad Jawad.

However, he said, as of last month, Indonesian importers are being issued with monthly quotas to control volumes of Pakistani kinnow shipments that can be brought into the country which is not accepted at all.

Pakistani fresh produce industry also concerns over the barring of entry of our products to the Port of Jakarta. The closure of the port to fresh produce shipments was hotly debated last year when it was announced that all exports would have to enter via other ports.

Negotiations have since taken place and this port is opened again to Australia and US oranges, but not for Pakistan.

This means that all Pakistani produce exports to the country must instead go via Surabaya City, Indonesia from where it is shipped over land at an additional cost of $2500, said Jawad.

On the other hand issue regarding General Rate Increase (GRI) $1500 on perishable shipments from the shipping lines is not solved in our country.

Shipping experts mentioned that there was no plausible reason for an increase as there was neither any congestion at the Karachi Port and Port Qasim nor there was any choking of containers.

Ahmad Jawad said that few shipping lines are reluctant to impose this new levy on the business community in the light of current trade scenario of the country which is appreciated and we are thankful to them.

Unfortunately, some big names in shipping industry support GRI, just to stable their financial viability.

Needless to mention that Pakistani kinnow is already expensive on the international market due to high input and with this effect cost may increase up to Rs 150,000. Current year’s production is 20 percent less at 1.8 million tones compared to previous year’s yield of two million tones.

In spite of this downward slide, in 2010-11/12, Pakistan’s fruit export market grew by 8.1 percent and in vegetables country fetched 180.6 million dollars by exporting edible vegetables in the respective fiscal year.

Exporters demand that the government must provide incentives to the private sector with proper infrastructure for cold storage and pack houses (a farm warehouse for agricultural produce) need to be developed widely across all key farmlands to enable this sector to reach its true potential.