‘Horticulture export can fetch $2.5bn in five years’

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  • PFVA patron-in-chief says introduction of drip irrigation system can save water wastage equivalent to the capacity of two dams

ISLAMABAD: Horticulture export could be enhanced to $2.5 billion in five years, creating jobs for 1.5 million people, said All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed.

PFVA has submitted recommendations to the National Food Security and Research minister regarding enhancement in the production and exports of fruits and vegetables, which would lead to ample employment opportunities for millions of jobless people.

According to Waheed Ahmed, the agriculture sector has taken a massive hit owing to the introduction of the 18th amendment, as the provinces do not have adequate resources and potential for agriculture research, leading to a serious threat to food security.

“By introducing drip irrigation system in the agriculture sector, water wastage, equivalent to the capacity of two dams, can be saved in the span of three years,” he added.

Recently, a grand event titled, “Kinnow Convention – 2019” was organised under the supervision of PFVA to highlight the issues and potential of the horticulture sector. The event, among other dignitaries, was also attended by Federal National Food Security and Research Minister Sahibzada Mohammad Sultan.

Paying rich tributes to the vital role and extensive efforts by PFVA in uplifting the horticulture sector, the minister pledged that the government would play a significant role in the enhancement of horticulture exports.

Addressing the convention, Waheed Ahmed highlighted that through effective implementation of ‘National Horticulture Vision’, a comprehensive policy on horticulture sector was developed jointly by PFVA and the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), which, if implemented rightly, could enhance exports from the current level of $620 million to $2.5 billion within five years and $6 billion within a span of a decade.

“By adopting this vision, employment opportunities for 1.5 million people can be created within five years while four million people are anticipated to get jobs in this sector within 10 years,” he added.

He said the high cost of production is a tough challenge for the growth of the sector which can be sorted out conveniently through extensive research on new varieties and improvement in per acre yield.

“For effective implementation of PFVA’s horticulture vision, we would organize seminars in consultation with all federal and provincial governments so that efforts by the provinces can be made effective,” he added.

Waheed Ahmed said that 90pc available water is used in the agriculture sector while 60pc water is wasted due to open canals, adding that production is severely affected when farms and orchards are supplied water excessively while drip system, being used in agriculture and horticulture sectors in the world to save water, is ignored completely.

“Pakistan is to spend $10 billion on the construction of dams which are anticipated to be commissioned in seven to eight years. However, if $1 billion is spent to develop drip irrigation system, water equivalent to the capacity of two dams can be saved,” he asserted.

Pakistan is ranked seventh in the list of affected countries due to global warming, according to a report by the World Bank and Agriculture Wing of the United Nation Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), which clearly indicates that Pakistan needs to take immediate necessary steps to address this serious threat, he concluded.

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