Export of fruits and vegetables rose by 16 per cent fetching $625 million in 2012-2013 as compared to $538m in 2011-2012.
Exporters found new markets such as South Korea, Mauritius and Japan for fruits in the last one year. Pakistani potatoes found way into the Middle East after seven years which also helped in boosting exports. The FY13 proved good for exports of onion, kinno and potato thus setting new records.
Chairman All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Importers and Merchants Association, Waheed Ahmed said potato exports stood around 300,000 tonnes in 2012-2013 because of start of exports to the Middle East.
He said a new record was set with the export of 250,000 tonnes of onion thanks to its bumper crop in the country. However, floods and rains had proved disastrous for onion crop in 2011-2012 and Pakistan had to import onion from India to meet the domestic requirement.
He said export target for kinno was also met after three years during 2012-2013 with shipment of 275,000 tonnes.
He saw huge potential in export to the tune of one billion dollar in fruits and vegetables by promoting research and development in the horticulture sector.
According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), quantity of fruits and vegetables stood at 709,980 tonnes and 724,258 tonnes in 2012-2013 as compared to 737,029 and 523,863 tonnes respectively in 2011-2012.
The exports of fruits and vegetables definitely seem good in view of foreign exchange earnings but Pakistani markets saw frequent arrival of imported fruits especially in the off season or any local production crisis. Some of the prominent fruits arriving from various countries including India and Iran were onion, tomato, green vegetables, bananas, apple, pears, grapes and Indian mango which were sold in high prices.
Waheed said there is no check and balance in the arrival of imported fruits from any part of the world but local exporters face strict rules and regulations to send their shipments to various foreign destinations.