The All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters Association (PFVA) has set an export target of kinnows at 350,000 metric tons that will generate $210 million in revenue.
The export of kinnows commenced from 1 December 2020 and is expected to fetch a valuable foreign exchange of $210 million.
While the export during the previous season was 300,000 metric tons, a press release issued by the PFVA claims that the total production of kinnows is estimated to be around 2,100,000 tons this year.
According to the Patron-in-Chief of the PFVA, Waheed Ahmed, the total production of kinnows is around 2.1 million metric tons but the production of quality exportable kinnow is far less. Of the total production, 75 percent production consists of grades B and C kinnow that are not worth exporting.
Ahmed revealed that the kinnow orchards are sixty years old and are susceptible to various diseases.
The Pakistani kinnow suffers from the common diseases of blemishes and melanoses that badly affect its cosmetic look which is why the PFVA had imposed a ‘self-ban’ on the export of kinnows to Europe for several years to avoid interceptions that are likely to lead to a ban by the European Union (EU).
“It is being witnessed that due to the global pandemic of coronavirus the demand for citrus fruits containing vitamin C is increasing in the international markets, and Pakistan, being a prominent producer of citrus fruits, can take full advantage of this unique opportunity. However, due to the quality issues of kinnows, we have been unable to exploit such opportunities to our advantage,” Ahmed revealed.
He also insisted that the overall export of citrus fruits and value-added products can be enhanced to $1 billion in a period of five years, but to attain this, it is imperative to explore new varieties of the citrus fruits that are impervious to diseases and to establish new orchards that have a higher yield per acre through extensive research and development (R&D).
“It is ironic that the province of Punjab, being a hub of kinnow production, could not draw the attention of the provincial government, and similarly, the federal government, using the plea of the 18th Amendment, kept ignoring the issues of the kinnow industry that it has been confronted with for the last several years,” he added.
The Patron-in-Chief revealed that the kinnow industry is worth around Rs. 125 billion, and that the entire economies of Bhalwal and Sargodha depend on the kinnow industry while about 250 kinnow processing factories located in Punjab are providing direct employment to 250,000 people.
The future of the kinnow industry will be bleak unless new orchards are developed with new varieties of the kinnow.
With the total production of around 2.1 million metric tons, the export target of kinnows is set at 350,000 tons with an expected revenue generation of $ 210 million expected. Additionally, the exportable volume will be lower as the kinnow industry of Rs.125 billion is engulfed in stiff challenges, and can be remedied by the exploration of new varieties imminent.
According to Waheed Ahmed, he had held meetings with the provincial Minister for Agriculture, the Governor of the Punjab, and the growers, exporters, and stakeholders associated with the kinnow industry and the horticulture sector prior to the commencement of the current kinnow season to apprise them of the need to resolve the issues of the industry via the adoption of a national strategy.
The PFVA meticulously planned to conduct a national conference on kinnows, keeping in view the issues and realistic solutions of the industry but it could not be held on 1 December due to the new wave of coronavirus and other unavoidable circumstances in the country.