Pakistan Registers a Record Increase in Fruit & Vegetable Exports Despite COVID-19

Pakistan has registered a record increase in the export of fruits & vegetables despite the coronavirus pandemic.

During the financial year 2019-20, the country witnessed an overall increase in export of fruits & vegetables by 12.5% amounting to $730 million which is the highest ever in terms of foreign exchange generation, said a statement issued by All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association (APFVA).

Last year, the export of fruits was enhanced by 3.8 % while the vegetables reflected an increase in exports by 28%. Export of fruits fetched $431.27 million while the export of the vegetables generated $30 million.

Waheed Ahmed, the Patron-in-Chief of APFVA said that at a time when global trade is facing stiff challenges and it is almost impossible to ensure timely delivery of Pakistani fruits & vegetables to the importing countries due to the pandemic & resulting lockdowns, PFVA translated these challenges into opportunity by enhancing exports and adopting realistic strategies. The federal govt. extended all-out support & assistance to the exporters and took timely decisions in the removal of barriers to enhance exports.

Facing difficulties in export by air, Pakistan adopted an alternative strategy to export by land routes & sea. Special attention was given to Iran & Afghanistan and the federal govt. promptly resolved the issues in exports to Iran & Afghanistan leading to enhancement of exports, read the statement.

At a time when the coronavirus global pandemic has the world in its grip, the entire world is in desperate need of fruits & vegetables containing vitamins to minimize ill-effects of this pandemic, Pakistan grabbed this unique opportunity and enhanced export of kinnow, potato & onion despite serious issues of transportation & logistics arising of the pandemic.

During the peak of the pandemic, Pakistan exported delicious & highly nutrient mangoes to many countries of the world. Extensive efforts by the PFVA also resulted in a reduction of airfreight charges by P.I.A to gulf countries & U.A.E facilitating exporters to compete in these highly demanding & competitive markets.

Likewise, after a ban on the export of onion by India, the PFVA convinced the federal govt. to lift the temporary restriction on the export of Pakistani onion thus leading to an increase in exports while the price of onions & potatoes remained stable in the local market as well and the growers got the benefit of this stability.

Pakistan Can Easily Enhance the Export of Fruits & Vegetables

Waheed said that besides maintaining consistency in exports’ enhancement of fruits & vegetables, it’s also imperative to take necessary steps to further boost the export of this sector.

To attain this objective, PFVA has presented a comprehensive road map titled – “Horticulture Vision – 2030” to the govt. which has been developed with extensive consultation with concerned stakeholders of the horticulture sector of all the provinces & it spells out issues of the sector along with realistic solutions.

This document highlights short, medium & long term solutions and barriers the sector faces. By effective implementation of the horticulture vision, Pakistan can easily enhance the export of fruits & vegetables to $1 billion within a period of two years, $2 billion in five years, and to $6 billion in a decade.

Another encouraging aspect of this vision is the provision of employment opportunities within five years to 1.8 million people directly engaged in this sector and to 3 million people in a period of ten years.

The Federal Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has also started consulting stakeholders for the preparation of the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) for the next five years.