Despite unfavorable circumstances and various tough challenges, 370000 metric tons Kinnow was exported by Pakistan this year, which is an ever highest export volume of Kinnow during any season of this fruit thus creating a new record. According to Waheed Ahmed, Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association (PFVA) and Vice President –FPCCI, the export of Kinnow commenced from December 2017 and continued till beginning of May 2018.
Compared to export volume of Kinnow last year which stood at 325000 tons, the current season of kinnow this year has witnessed an ever highest export volume of 370000 tons leading to generation of huge foreign exchange of US$ 222 million for the country.
According to Waheed, the PFCCI has played a vital role enabling the PFVA not only to achieve the export target of Kinnow but also attain an ever highest export volume. With consistent support of the FPCCI, the PFVA raised issue of unrealistic high valuation of Pakistani Kinnow in the Russian market before the concerned Pakistani & Russian Authorities in an effective manner with logical argument and consequently the Russian expressed willingness to reduce valuation. On the other hand through effective utilization of FPCCI platform, the extensive efforts made by PFVA against quota system by the Indonesian Govt. on import of Pakistani Kinnow resulted in withdrawal of quota system by the Indonesian Govt. The FPCCI also fully supported PFVA’s logical stand for demanding from the Govt. of Pakistan Drawback of Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL) of US$ 250 per export container of Kinnow to Russia enabling Pakistani exporters to compete in this International market which has certainly assisted in enhancement of export of Kinnow. The FPPCI & PFVA together have also laid down foundation for Research & Development by collaboration with various Agriculture Research based institutions for improvement in quality and development of new varieties of Citrus fruit. The newly established research wing of the FPCCI, having support of Pakistani & International Agriculture Institutions & Universities is aggressively working on comprehensive project for improvement of yield, quality and exploration of new varieties of Citrus fruits.
As a result of joint efforts by Ministry of Commerce (MoC), FPCCI and PFVA the restriction of quota system which was imposed on import of Pakistani Kinnow in the Indonesian market by the Govt. of Indonesia was abolished by the Indonesian Govt. which played a significant role in export enhancement of Kinnow. Indonesia used to issue import permit for import of Pakistani Kinnow by mid of January and due to restriction on volume of quota, it used to be quite difficult in getting big orders materialized – Waheed remarked. Excellent crop of Kinnow in Pakistan this year with simultaneous low production of the fruit by big producer of Kinnow, namely Morocco, it provided yet an opportunity in enhancement of export to the Russian market – Waheed shared. For the last seven consecutive years , the export of Kinnow to the Iranian market having volume potential of 60 – 80,000 tons remain suspended , however import permits were issued by Iran on eve of “Noroz” festival , but due to limited time period , logistic issues and difficulties in financial transactions , this temporary opportunity could not be availed by Pakistani exporters – Waheed deplored.
According to Waheed Ahmed, the Kinnow industry of Pakistan is faced with internal & external challenges .Stiff competition in International market with Turkey & Morocco in terms of their quality and price is becoming almost impossible to sustain and in case if these two countries may have good crops of Kinnow next year, attainment of export volume by Pakistan would be quite difficult. Changes in climatic conditions and lack of Research & Development facilities in Pakistan is taking it’s toll by casting serious negative impact on production of Kinnow and reduction in it’s shelf life ! The Kinnow trees in Pakistan have already completed their life cycle and hence lost endurance to resist against diseases and thus Kinnow orchards having such trees are already suffering from various diseases. Since new orchards of this fruit are not being planted, it’s feared that Kinnow industry and it’s export would sustain huge losses in near future- Waheed disclosed with deep concern. Since Punjab is hub of Kinnow production, it’s imperative that the Govt. of Punjab must pay serious attention to initiate R&D activities so as to improve quality of the fruit. By safeguarding Kinnow against diseases and with exploration of new varieties of Citrus fruits, the Kinnow industry can be enlisted in the giant industries of one billion club through value-addition – Waheed pointed out.
Kinnow continues facing issue of “High Valuation” from the Russian customs’ authorities leading to higher cost of Pakistani Kinnow in this important International market. The actual value of Pakistani Kinnow is US$ 6 – 7 per 10 Kg while Russian authorities assess it at US$ 9.5 per 10 Kg while after February the valuation is revised upward to US$ 10.5 per 10 Kg making it even more difficult to compete due to further addition in its high cost. PFVA has raised its concerning voice on this important issue before Pakistani and Russian authorities while Pakistani diplomats posted at Russia & MoC also rendered assistance and as a result of that the Russian authorities have shown willingness for reduction in valuation, however due to non-affirmation of Valuation by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) , this serious issue still remains unresolved – Waheed deplored . Pakistan can export Fruits & Vegetables to big market of China availing unique opportunity of CPEC which provides an easy accessible route to China via road. However due to unsuitable quality of Kinnow for the Chinese market, Pakistan is unable to take full advantage of this opportunity. With co-ordained efforts, the quality of Pakistani Kinnow can be further improved and in next three years 50,000 – 80,000 tons can easily be exported to China – Waheed assured.
Waheed paid rich tribute to MoC, Department of Plant Protection, Customs’ authorities, ANF, Shipping companies, Airlines, Pakistan Horticulture Development Board (PHDEC) & FPCCI for rendering all possible assistance and cooperation in creating a new history of the highest export volume of Kinnow this year. He in particular thanked the FPCCI & PHDEC for playing vital role by assisting the PFVA in getting financial assistance from the GoP.