Aesthetic appeal of kinnow vital to boosting exports | Pakistan Today

Aesthetic appeal of kinnow vital to boosting exports

ISLAMABAD – The enhancement of the aesthetic appeal of the Pakistani citrus (kinnow) and proper production techniques are need of the hour to boost its presence on the international market. There is also a need to augment technical knowledge and post-harvest handling and storage procedures. Pakistan earns millions of dollars every year through the export of kinnow but blemishes in the final product are a major area for concern, impeding its exports, particularly to European Union (EU) markets. According to the latest study conducted by Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC), the physical appearance of the fruit is a major factor affecting consumer choice in the market.
Attractive fruits are desired by consumers, reported an agricultural news website revealed. The Pakistani kinnow is fetching relatively low prices in comparison to other countries like Spain and Morocco. One of the main reasons for this disparity in the price is the presence of blemishes on the peel of Pakistani kinnow. Morphologically, the blemishes are ‘collapsed hypodermis tissues’ related to shrunken or destroyed oil glands. The study stresses that there is need to explore the factors which are responsible for variable fruit quality in other citrus growing districts as compared to Sargodha so that the export base could be broadened to earn foreign exchange through export enhancement.
A more extensive study is also under progress at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, in which the monitoring of the whole crop cycle will be documented in association with the biotic and abiotic factors presented in the study of fruit blemishes. The study will provide detailed information of insect pest history and initiation and growth of fruit blemishes throughout the crop cycle. Citrus, the premier fruit crop is grown in more than 100 countries of the world across the six continents with annual production of 105 million tonnes. Brazil is the largest citrus producer (20 percent share), followed by USA (14 percent share), and China (12 percent share). Pakistan is ranked the 13th largest citrus producer in the world with an area of 1,85,000 hectares, producing 2.1 million tonnes of citrus.
An exporter of citrus from Sargodha, Farooq Ahmad emphasised the need to improve and maintain the quality of fruit and above all raise its shelf life. He said in order to ensure quality and grading of the fruit, training programmes, seminars and various workshops should be organised regularly, which in turn will create awareness about the latest methods.
All Pakistan Vegetable and Fruit Association former chairman, informed that citrus fruit export fetched high prices this year mainly on account of skyrocketing prices of the fruit.
He said for the first time in country’ history, kinnow export has crossed $100 million mark during the current year, indicating tremendous achievement on the part of exporters in terms of earning valuable foreign currency which substantially contributes to the national exchequer.
It may be recalled that last year, total export of citrus fruit stood at $90 million. The markets that fetched great orders for kinnow included the Middle East, Iran, Eastern Europe, Russia and Ukraine. A large quantity of the fruit was also dispatched to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan. Pakistani Kinnows have gained recognition in Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Latvia and Lithuania.

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