LAHORE : Country holds immense comparative advantage for production of horticulture sector, our fruits, vegetables and floricultural products have rich potential to capture the world’s $180 billion plus annual market, said CEO Harvest Tradings, Ahmad Jawad.  Jawad said global fruit production was reported at 548 million tonnes and vegetable production came in at 990 million tonnes in 2011. For the year, the size of the global floriculture industry stood at around $109 billion.

As China, Netherlands, India and Nigeria among other countries have risen in the Global Horticulture market outlook for 2015.

In Pakistan, horticulture sub-sector can be a good source of foreign exchange earnings as there is high demand for Pakistani vegetables and fruits in international markets, especially mango, apples, dates and citrus. Punjab produces most fruits and vegetables compared to other provinces: More than 63 per cent of fruits and 60 per cent of vegetables

Jawad further briefed, export values of fruits and vegetables as a proportion of world’s revenues as these are on up trend. Vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, lettuce, all kind of green beans and asparagus grows very well in Pakistan’s ecological conditions. Since these vegetables are not a part of local cuisine, there is no local market and till date export linkages have not been established.

Similarly barring a few commercial vegetable farms, which are vertically linked to high-end local markets, bulk of vegetable production is concentrated around urban centres for supply to local fruit and vegetable markets for daily auction.

Overall horticulture production in Pakistan has been rising steadily but yield growth has been slow especially since early 1980s. Unlike major crops, vegetable, fruit farming received minimal research, development and extension services from Government.

We required production of huge quantities of high quality and cost competitive products;

Its time due attention should be paid on research and development (R & D) and special incentives must be lay down for exporters from the Government to compete in international markets.

He also stressed that country needs Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures for food safety legislation to ensure compliance of horticulture products for better access to global markets.