December 02, 2020: All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters Association (PFVA) has set an export target of kinnow at 350,000 metric tons that will generate USD 210 million revenue. The export during the previous season was 300,000 metric tons.
The export of Kinnow has commenced from 1st Dec. 2020 and is expected to fetch valuable foreign exchange of USD 210 million. The total production of Kinnow is estimated to be around 2100000 tons this year.
According to Waheed Ahmed, the Patron-in-chief of All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters Association (PFVA), the export has commenced from 1st Dec. 2020. The total production of Kinnow is around 2100000 metric tons, however, the production of quality exportable Kinnow is far less. Of the total production, 75% production consists of grade B & C Kinnow worth not exporting. The Kinnow orchards are sixty years old and just cannot safeguard against various diseases – Waheed disclosed. Pakistani Kinnow suffers from common diseases of blemish issue & Melanoses which badly affect its cosmetic look and due to this reason, the PFVA had imposed “self-ban” on the export of Kinnow to Europe for the last several years to avoid interceptions leading to likely ban by the EU.
It is being witnessed that due to the global pandemic of coronavirus, the demand of citrus fruits containing vitamin C is increasing in the international markets and Pakistan being a prominent producer of citrus fruits can take full advantage of this unique opportunity, however, due to quality issues of Kinnow, we have been unable to exploit such opportunities to our advantages- Waheed informed.
The overall export of citrus fruits and value-added products can be enhanced to USD one billion in a period of five years, but to attain that, it’s imperative to explore new verities of the citrus fruits free from various diseases and establish new orchards having higher yield per acre through extensive research & development (R&D) – Waheed insisted. It is an irony that the province of Punjab, being a hub of Kinnow production could not draw the attention of the provincial Govt. and similarly, the Federal Govt. using the plea of 18th amendments kept ignoring the issue of Kinnow industry, it had been confronting for the last several years – Waheed deplored.
For the last decade, the PFVA has been conveying its serious concerns and early warnings to the Federal as well Provincial Govts. about the “dark clouds” hovering over the Kinnow industry endangering its survival. The Kinnow industry is worth around Rs.125 billion and the entire economy of Bhalwal and Sargodha depends upon Kinnow Industry while about 250 processing factories of Kinnow located in Punjab are providing direct employment to 250000 people- Waheed shared.
The future of the Kinnow industry is bleak unless new orchards are developed with new varieties of Kinnow. According to Waheed Ahmed, prior to the commencement of current season of Kinnow, he held meetings with the provincial Agricultural Minister, Governor Punjab, growers, exporters and stakeholders associated with the Kinnow Industry and the Horticulture sector apprised them of the need to resolve issues of the industry by adopting a national strategy. The PFVA meticulously planned to conduct a national conference on Kinnow keeping in view the issues and realistic solutions of the Kinnow industry which could not be held on 1st Dec. 2020 due to a new wave of coronavirus and other unavoidable circumstances. However, during the current season this conference would be held in which, besides the Federal & Provincial Govt., Agriculture Universities, Exporters and all stakeholders also participate and recommendations be compiled in light of their views / Feedbacks on issues & challenges, the Kinnow industry is encountering for its survival – Waheed informed.
He also shared a deep concern about the acute shortage of reefer containers for export during the current season. The Kinnow is exported through land & sea and due to the non-availability of the containers and high freight charges, the export of Kinnow is confronted with difficult situations & is likely to have a negative impact on its export. To achieve the export target of Kinnow, it’s imperative to have consistent support and cooperation from the concerned Ministries and departments which includes – Ministry of Commerce, the Federal Ministry of National Food Security & Research, the Port authorities & the FBR – Waheed emphasized.