In a surprising turn of events, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for Pakistani Kinnow in international markets.
Known as the Mandarin Hybrid fruit that delivers a flavor akin to none, markets such as Russia, Iran, and other Central Asian countries look forward to buying the fruit every year. Only last year, Pakistan earned its highest export revenue of $222 million from exports amounting to 370,000 tonnes of Kinnow.
As per reports, Pakistan’s total trade volume for Kinnow sits at Rs. 125 billion. Among major harvesting units, Faisalabad and Sargodha account for the majority of Kinnow yield, amassing 80% of total production in Pakistan last year.
250,000 individuals are employed during the Kinnow season at 350 production facilities across the country.
On average, Pakistan exports 3 to 4 lac tonnes of Kinnow every year. Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are some of the main export destinations for the fruit, with Russia being the biggest buyer in the export market.
Although the demand continues to increase every season, exporters and local distribution hubs this year are facing problems with the international supply chain.
There’s stark unavailability of containers along the trade belt, mostly along the Gwadar and Karachi seaports, due to problems such as the closure of land and sea routes, restrictions on air travel, and cash-strapped businesses looking to buy Kinnow on installments.
The problems are surely there, but there’s massive room for periodic improvements.
Local exporters this year have set a target for exporting 3.5 lac tonnes of Kinnow to international markets. The probability of achieving this target has also increased due to the coronavirus, with countries across the globe turning their attention towards another massive yield of fruit in Pakistan.
Keeping in view the highly anticipated Kinnow yield during the new season, coupled with on-and-off supply-chain issues, Pakistan is still capable to increase its total exports of the fruit and associated products to $1 billion. To achieve this, there’s a need for the government to integrate the local supply and distribution channels in accordance with international practices.