First consignment of six tonnes dispatched at the start of June with over 100 orchards now registered for export

Pakistan has shipped its first consignment of fresh cherries to China marking the opening of Asia’s largest market for the industry.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) announced the shipment was dispatched to China on 5 June. It said under the phytosanitary agreement with China over 100 orchards have been registered with China’s General Administration of Customs.

According to a report from Dawn, the first shipment contained 6 tonnes of cherries and was transported by refrigerated truck over the border. The cherries were grown in key the key production region of Gilgit-Baltistan, which produces approximately 5,000 tonnes a season.

Following the initial shipment Pakistan hopes to ramp up supply and send 260 tonnes of cherries to China by the end of the month.

The Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Company (PHDEC) has been working with the local cherry industry on development, helping to educate growers on producing popular varieties.

PHDEC chief executive Athar Hussain Khokhar said by producing the required varieties of cherries, the country can capture a slice of the China market.

“Proximity and growing demand for the fruit in the Chinese market are a major competitive advantage to Gilgit-Baltistan growers,” Khokhar said.