Special measures sought to facilitate Kinnow entry in EU market

KARACHI: Exporters of agro-products in the country have urged the government to announce special relief package for Kinnow sector facilitating current year’s entry of the product in EU market successfully.

Ahmad Jawad, a senior exporter of agro-products also the former Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Agro Business here on Tuesday said Pakistan has officially kicked off its Kinnow export season on the first of this month.

Producers and exporters were said to be faced with series of challenges including quality as well low yield of current year’s Kinnow production.

He said lack of shipping capacity to reach markets in the Far East and weak purchasing power in Russia on the back of a sliding rouble are also concerns that may stagnate this year’s exports of Kinnow from the country.

Ahmed Jawad urged the authorities to announce special relief for Kinnow farmers and subsidy on Kinnow export for the revival of the export in order to met the deadlines of the target set by the government. Mentioning that government has set an export target of 400,000 tones this year, which is 100,000 tones higher than the export target for the previous season, he also urged concerned stakeholders to ensure optimum care towards quality of the product.

Jawad also warned that low export quality yield in the ongoing season may keep country away from the opportunity to fill the gap created by the Russian ban on the import of Turkish oranges after the recent events in the Middle East.

He feared that opportunity may be missed in case of country’s inability in taking preventive measures to address concern of growers and exporters about quality of current year’s Kinnow production.

Regretting that the country was losing this opportunity every year, Ahmad Jawad urged the Kinnow farmers to open their eyes and save their own business through adoption of good practices for quality yield to enhance exports. He said bad crop will cause a loss of nearly $80 million for the value of exports.

Exporters had expected to export around 200,000 tons only for the current season that started on December one, 2015. Jawad mentioned that the country exported 315,000 tons during 2013-14’s export season whereas international sales earned $170 million and in the last season the country fetched $200 million from the export of 350,000 tones of kinnow which surpassed that year’s target.

The boost came last year when Russia banned fruit from the European Union and Pakistan was able to send 100,000 tones of kinnow to Russia, he said. He mentioned that this year all big names in Kinnow export have cut their shipments by 50% and this is despite the fact import duty was 0% on Kinnow for Europe after awarding GSP Plus status to Pakistan.