Pakistan sets 250,000 tons Kinnow export target this year

Export target of Kinnow for Russia and Iran reduced due to various issues including quality and cost factors - PFVA

ISLAMABAD: Keeping in view various issues related to export of kinnow to Russian and Iranian markets during the current year; the export target has been re-set downward by All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA).

According to the PFVA Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed, export of Kinnow has already commenced from December 01, 2017 and the export target during the current year has been set as 250,000 tonnes. The Kinnow Industry has been experiencing numerous issues in the export of Kinnow which had led to a consistent decline in its export since the year 2014-15. 375,000 tonnes of Kinnow was exported in the year 2014-15, however, even export target of 300,000 tonnes could not be attained during last year’s season being limited only to 280,000 tonnes. The decline in export of Kinnow can be attributed to lack of interest on Part of Government of Punjab, high cost of production, stiff competition and various trade barriers imposed by Iran, Europe and Russia.

According to Ahmed, for the last six years, Kinnow could not be exported to Iran due to reluctance in the issuance of import Permit by Iranian Government – disclosed Waheed Ahmed.  Import valuation of Pakistani Kinnow is unrealistically assessed higher by $ 3 per 10 Kg by the Russian Government which makes it almost impossible to compete with Egypt, Morocco and Turkey. The demand of Pakistani Kinnow in the International markets is on the sharp decline due to its poor appearance, too many seeds and infection due to Canker. Pakistan taking initiative had “self-imposed” temporary embargo on the export of Kinnow to Europe and UK in the year 2014 and thus averted likely ban on import of Kinnow by these countries.

The attention of the government on the significance and immediate need for Research and Development (R&D) is being emphasised by the PFVA for last several years to improve quality of Kinnow but despite the fact that more than 90 per cent area of cultivation of crops of Kinnow is in Punjab, the Government of Punjab did not pay attention that it deserved.

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The production of Kinnow during the current season is anticipated to be between 1,900,000 tonnes to 2,000,000 tonnes, however, due to the production of small size Kinnow in abundance, export to Russia has assumed special significance where this size is in great demand.

During the recent fifth inter-ministerial meeting between Pakistan and Russia, it was mutually agreed to give more access to Pakistani agriculture produces to Russian market and removal of Tariff and NTBs. However the concerned Ministries of Pakistan would also be required to play an instrumental role in the implementation of this agreement, Waheed stressed. Availing this unique opportunity, the exporters would be able to get compensation for the huge financial losses, they had sustained in this market. PFVA has demanded freight subsidy of $ 2500 per export container enabling exporters to encounter stiff competition from Egypt, Turkey and Morocco. Pakistani Kinnow continues to face stiff challenges from these countries due to the extension of freight subsidy by their governments’ devaluation of their currencies and low cost of production. Iran like Russia is a big market of Pakistani Kinnow, however, due to non-issuance of an import permit by the Government of Iran, the export of Kinnow to this market remains suspended for the last six years.

Issuance of quota in December during the current season by the Indonesian Government would lead to further enhancement of export of Pakistani Kinnow. With the export of Kinnow from December 1, 2017, as of now 800 Kinnow containers weighing 20,000 tonnes have been exported to Russia, Dubai, Philippine, Sri-Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Saudi Arab, Canada, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Malaysia and UAE  etc. According to Waheed Ahmed, Pakistani Kinnow is also exported to the central Asian States via land routes, however, due to problems being created by the Afghan authorities, the export to these states is likely to be badly affected and hence it’s imperative that the GOP must resolve issues by negotiating with Government of Afghanistan.

Attainment of the export target of 250,000 tonnes during the current season would largely depend upon favourable weather conditions and political stability in the country while frequent set-ins processions and protest movements would have a bad impact on trade activities and its likely continuation during the current export season of Kinnow would make it quite difficult to achieve the desired export target, Waheed feared. Stressing upon the Government of Punjab, Waheed emphasised the need for an immediate actions on war footing basis to improve quality of Kinnow otherwise we will have no other option but the Kinnow factories providing jobs to millions of workforce would shut down leading to a remarkable reduction of $ 200 million in export revenue while investment of billions of rupees would be washed away, Waheed cautioned.

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