KARACHI: The country’s horticulture export can easily fetch and fulfil orders worth $1 billion through the government support, said Federation Of Pakistan Chambers Of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Regional Standing Committee on Horticulture Exports, Chairman Ahmad Jawad.
Talking to APP in Karachi on Wednesday, he said an exclusive package is urgently needed to catapult the country’s horticulture exports that amounted to $641 million in 2015-16 and holds every potential to grow further on strong and steady lines.
“We need urgent support in particular context of hot water treatment (HWT) plants and controlled atmosphere (CA) stores under equity sharing arrangements and incentives on freight-on-board (FOB) value,” he replied to a question.
Mentioning that the Horticulture sector had gained immense significance in the world trade, during past two decades, he said the developing countries have created a space for themselves in this market.
“Pakistan’s share is, however, just 0.3 percent,” he said reiterating that this can be markedly improved once the government extended much-needed assistance to the exporters.
“We may also perform well under the CPEC trade route”, he added.
To another query, he said that the horticulture was one of the areas identified to be explored under a short-term export enhancement strategy adopted by the commerce ministry; however, concrete incentive is still awaited.
“This short-term export enhancement strategy is an integral part of Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) for 2015-18,” said the FPCCI office bearer.
Jawad further said that there was a need to expand crop varieties to ensure food security and produce export surpluses.
“Community-run water management has led to over and under irrigation,” he added.
He went on saying that the water channels display low conveyance ability and demand recurrent maintenance because modern engineering concepts have not been deployed during the construction of water channels.
About policy recommendations to improve the potential of the horticulture industry, he said that the Research and Development capacity can be enhanced to produce basic seeds on commercial scale followed by a centralised e-platform for marketing of locally-produced certified seeds can be of great help.
The FPCCI office bearer further recommended synchronising extension services of the provincial agriculture departments and the private sector.
“It must also be ensured that the Agriculture department has more of technical staff than non-technical support staff,” stressed the senior horticulturist and exporter.
Ahmad Jawad pointed out that Pakistan despite being the sixth largest apricot producer in the world holds negligible share in the global export market for apricot.
“While unprocessed apricots are bought at Rs 6-7 a kilogramme the foreign buyers purchase processed apricots at Rs 300-500 a kilogramme,” he said.
He appreciated that the Aga Khan Research and Development Foundation under its Dry Fruit Project has recognised market potentials for the GBs dry apricot, apple and mulberry.