The Russian Federation, one of the biggest markets for Pakistani kinnows, has lifted the ban on its import, said Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) on Wednesday. He said the Russian Federation had imposed a ban on the import of Pakistani agricultural products, including kinnow, potato, rice and some other items a few months ago, fearing that fruits and vegetables may be carrying diseases.
“Russia has lifted the ban after extensive talks between the two governments, which would enable Pakistan to export 0.3 million tons of kinnow worth $175 million,” he said. Bosan said ban on potato and rice import from Pakistan will remain in place until the relevant phytosanitary issues were not resolved. However, he said that the ban on export of potato and rice is likely to be lifted soon as Russia has assured that an expert team will visit Pakistan after Christmas holidays for inspection of processing units along with quarantine methods and practices used in Pakistan.
The minister said Pakistan would have to suffer huge loss had the ban not lifted. He also said that Pakistan has also signed an agreement with Indonesia and the first consignment of kinnow has been exported. To a question, he said Pakistan had exported 1,840 consignments of kinnow to Russia last year and the objections were raised over only four consignments. However, he said that according to the protocol signed between Pakistan and Russia, after more than three violations the concerned country will ban the particular exporters not the country. He said the price of potato has comparatively decreased and it will further come down after December 15. “This year the country will produce more potato than domestic requirements as Punjab is likely to produce 36,000 tons potato,” he added.
Author: Fazal Sher
Source: Business Recorder