In a bid to improve exports of vegetable by reducing costs, Pakistan will ship its first consignment of selected vegetables on an experimental basis to Dubai, via sea freight.
The first ever consignment of nine selected vegetables (tomato, bringal, cucumber, carrot, okra, long melon etc) will be shipped to Dubai on Monday 20th Feb, 2017, under the Agricultural Market Development (AMD) project of United States Agency for International Development (USAID). According to Waheed Ahmed, patron in chief of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA), the freight service via sea will not only drastically reduce the cost of the project but also enable the exporters to tap more markets in Emirates and gulf countries.
He said a vegetable being air-shipped at the cost of Rs80 per kilogramme will cost only Rs5/kg, in case it is sent through the sea route with huge differences of freight cost.
“As India has already been using the sea route for export of highly competitive fresh products to Middle Eastern markets, Pakistan will also be able to compete in the market of vegetable and horticulture products, in case the experiment of sea freight is a success,” he said.
Exporters will use the route commercially to export fruits and vegetables to Dubai, which is the destination of at least 35 per cent of Pakistan’s vegetables, after observing the response of the first consignment shipped on February 20.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Waheed said the consignment shipped via sea route will reach Dubai within three to four days. He lauded the efforts of AMD of USAID and Pakistan Plant Protection department for striving hard to boost the value chain and marketing of fruits and vegetables.
The consignment of nine vegetables (seven tonnes weight) was earlier grown, processed and packed under the supervision of experts from AMD-USAID at a pack house in Gharu Sindh. The process was monitored by Dr Mubarak Ahmed, former DG Plant Protection and Dr Waqar Ahmed of AMD-USAID’s Value Chain.
On the occasion, Dr Mubarak said that by being cost effective, the processing and packaging as per requirement of shipment via sea route has become a common practice in the world. This way Pakistan can boost its exports of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Peter Dickrell, Chief of Party AMD Project, congratulated PFVA for the successful shipment saying that this project would open up new doors for growers, exporters, processors and all the other stakeholders of the industry. He said under the AMD project, five exporters of Pakistan will receive the consignment at Dubai and display the vegetables at the upcoming Gulf Food Festival.