Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Export Association (PFVA) Waheed Ahmed has stated that Pakistan is facing an alarming situation due to the unprecedented effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The export of fruits and vegetables from Pakistan is likely to sustain a huge loss of $150 million. All industrial sectors are under immense pressure due to the pandemic, however, the demand for agriculture produces, fruits and vegetables have multiplied manifold. In addition, the suspension of flights has created serious problems in the transportation and trading sectors.
Transportation of foodstuff via sea routes is also experiencing problems and under these circumstances, only countries with adequate food for their local population and a strong agriculture sector can deal with such a crisis, he added.
Due to curtailment of operations by airlines, the export of fruit and vegetable to Europe, the Far East, and the Middle East will be halted, while due to the closure of hotels, restaurants and a sharp drop in tourism, there is a significant reduction in demand of fruits & vegetables in the world.
He disclosed that superstores are shutting down as well. If the present situation prevails for the next two months, the overall export of fruits and vegetables from Pakistan is likely to sustain a loss of $150 million, he cautioned.
If the pandemic is not fully controlled then the export of mango, which will start from June will also be seriously affected leading to huge financial losses to the exporters as well as the agriculture sector, he added.
After sealing the western border of Pakistan, the export of fruit and vegetable via land routes to Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries have also been suspended.
Waheed urged all political parties for joint efforts for the development of the agriculture and horticulture sector so that in case of internal and external crises, the food security of Pakistan can be ensured.
In this context, strong efforts should be made by political parties to chalk out a well-defined policy to ensure the implementation of the recommendations spelled out in the 10-year comprehensive road map titled “Pakistan Horticulture Vision 2030” developed by the PFVA for the rapid growth of this sector, Waheed suggested.
This road map developed by the PFVA, through a tedious and time-consuming process of consultations, has not only been deeply acknowledged by the members of assemblies, but the experts have also declared that this road map is a realistic document for the development of national policy for the agriculture sector.
The export of fruits & vegetables can be enhanced to $2.5 billion within five years should the recommendations given in the Vision-2030 on short, medium and long term policies be fully implemented.