Hurldles in exporting horticulture products By: Mohammad Arifeen - Articles Detail
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Hurldles in exporting horticulture products  Back
By: Mohammad Arifeen
Pakistan is facing severe competition in value-added horticulture products from various large regions of the world. It has missed various money- making international markets of agricultural products to India.  Due to large difference in prices, Pakistani exporters are finding it difficult to exploit highly valued markets, particularly in the Gulf and European region for fruit products like mango, pulp and concentrates of apple, dates and horticulture products.
This set back in exports of horticulture product  is obviously due to the lack of government support and most beneficial agricultural practices, availability of Research & development (R&D) facilities, presence of better quality, lower cost and value added products.
 Only over 28 types of fruits and 30 types of vegetables are grown in the Pakistan all around the year and a large amount of these are consumed in the domestic markets. Comparing performance of Pakistan in the context of horticulture products with India, India has well arisen as the world's second largest fruit producing country and it   achieved also a substantial increase in the production of horticultural crops in recent years.  

India is the largest producer of mango, banana, papaya, sapota, pomegranate etc.  About 40 per cent of the world's mangoes and 30 per cent of the world's bananas and papayas are produced in India. In terms of productivity of grapes, India ranks first in the world.
World market for mango pulp is around 0.215 million tones of which India grasp 70 percent share in production and exports. Pakistan despite having good quality mango is far behind and has no substantial share in the world market of mango pulp.
Pakistan's horticulture exports have not shown valued improvements primarily due to non aggressive policies. The country produces above 14 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables annually, of which almost one-third is wasted before it reaches consumers

The world horticulture market is valued at $80 billion to which Pakistan contributes a small share and currently only 16 per cent of fruits are being processed.  

The growth of the horticulture industry in the country can be possible only when the dominating role of middleman is diminished in the whole process and subsequently the exports horticulture could be enhanced manifold provided the farmers are provided direct benefit.

In case the private sector adopts proper approach, the horticulture export industry can grow more than US $1 billion by 2014. The government and other financial institutions should extend support to the export sector, especially in horticulture which is however endeavoring from the past couple of years.
Involvement of the private sector is vital for the horticulture industry of Pakistan since private players possess the expertise and know-how regarding the transport of perishable produce. The banks should continue expansion of new products and offer service to the exporters of horticulture products.  There is the need to guide and educate the banking sector to boost horticulture exports. The government should draw out some feasible strategies with the help of State Bank of Pakistan on priority basis,
The government should formulate an aggressive policy for export of horticulture products and all possible support to be extended to Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC).
Issues like inadequate air cargo space, shortage of controlled atmosphere and reefer container (for sea shipment), provision of special air freight rates for export of horticultural products, financial support to farmers and exporters in the shape of loans, guarantees and revolving funds besides support to common facility centres for processing of fresh fruits and vegetables should be taken due care of.
Horticulture exports could fetch up billion of dollars with a little attention on improving the yield through research and development which is badly lacking at present.
A multi-products pulping facility has been established in Pakistan for the processing of horticulture products to meet international standards for food safety and help in boosting country`s exports. The facility is a combination of Italian and German technologies.
This is the first ever facility of its kind put in the country. Currently it is processing mangoes, apples, guavas and tomatoes. Its annual production is about 4000 metric tons. They also own state of the art pack-house, equipped with an imported facility or hot water dip, washing, waxing, grading (by size, weight and color), packing and cold storage. Both the processing (pulping) and pack-house facilities meet internationally required food safety standards and have obtained HACCP certification.
Proper infrastructure for cold storage and pack houses (a farm warehouse for agricultural produce) need to be developed widely across all key farmlands to enable this sector to reach its true potential. The government must provide incentives to the private sector and international players to develop such facilities in the country.
Before engaging in brand development and participation in global trade fairs and expos, these steps are essential to first establish a strong foundation of the industry. The country needs Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures for food safety legislation to ensure compliance of horticulture products for better access to global markets.
The government should support horticulture sector in order to enhance export volume and to search more markets like South American countries, North Africa, Central Asian states and South Asian region.
Pakistan's horticulture exports can increase to over one billion by 2014 provided if the govt adopts the right approach in collaboration with the private sector. There is the need to take initiatives to venture for the exploitation of export potential and to search more markets like South American countries, North Africa, Central Asian states and South Asian region.
 Proper infrastructure for cold storage and pack houses (a farm warehouse for agricultural produce) need to be developed widely across all key farmlands to enable this sector to reach its true potential.
International importing companies can be encouraged to develop supply chain infrastructure in the country in exchange for incentives such as tax benefits, duty-free import of machinery, land leases, and liaison with local growers and exporters.
Pakistani exporters of horticulture products are finding it difficult to penetrate into the Russian market due to unavailability of banking channels. The Russian fruit market's size is around $6 billion of which imports account for 80 percent but this huge market has remained untapped due to lack of strategic policies although there lives a large potential for the export of Pakistan's horticulture products.
Pakistan and Russia should jointly look into the possibilities of organising trade delegations and exhibitions in each other's countries every year, being the most effective tool of marketing strategy. It is emphasised that the government should draw a feasible strategy to lift the exports of fresh produce industry. The focus should be on Russian and CIS (Common wealth of independent states) markets with regard to fruits and vegetables which are ready to engage as much as we could export.
Russian banks are keen to develop banking relations with their counterparts in Pakistan but some issues related to regulations by the two central banks are causing delay. There had been long demand from the business community of both the countries for opening up of full-fledged bank branches to regularize payments of imports and exports between the two countries..
PHDEC must focus on ASEAN to enhance horticulture export.   ASEAN includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia
Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Company (PHDEC) must look towards encouraging exports of fresh products. The country's exports of fresh fruits and vegetables are in great demand in the non-traditional markets and there is urgent need to exploit these markets. Due attention should be paid to research and development (R & D) without which achieving targets would be difficult. Horticulture exports could fetch more billion of dollars with a little attention on improving the yield through research and development which is badly lacking at present.
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