The value of Pakistan’s fresh produce export trade has the potential yo rise significantly over the next five years, according to Waheed Ahmed, co-chairman of the Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association.
Ahmed said securing substantial investment into research and development was crucial to growing the sector, proposing the construction of a new US$4.9m laboratory for this purpose at a recent meeting with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).
Ahmed told Pakistan’s Express Tribune that while the country’s mango exporters had secured strong returns in the Japanese market, their inability to access a national vapour heat treatment (VHT) facility had cost them around US$10m in potential sales.
TDAP director Atif Aziz agreed that a VHT plant needed to be established, with his agency now looking for investment partners to construct the facility. “VHT can play an important role in increasing the country’s fruits and vegetables exports,” Aziz told the Express Tribune.
Ahmed believed Pakistani exporters were well positioned to capitalise on Russia imposed ban on North American and European fresh produce products.
This faith was justified after a delegation of 20 Pakistani companies visited Russia in September for the three-day World Food Moscow exhibition. Ahmed said the Pakistani suppliers held positive talks with Russian buyers, with increased trade likely to ensue over the coming months.