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Go-slow at Karachi harbour harms fruit exports

KARACHI: The Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association has urged the Ministry of Commerce to immediately take notice of the ‘go slow’ by dock workers at the Karachi Port Trust as it is harming fruit exports.

In a letter written to Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, the association asked him to intervene in the standoff that had been going on since December 26, 2016 and if it failed the ongoing export of oranges and potatoes would take a huge hit.

Talking about export markets, the association pointed out that the Iranian market could consume 40,000 tons of Pakistani kinnows, but due to Iran’s reluctance to issue import permits that quantity could not be shipped.

Contrary to this, Iranian fruits are being imported by Pakistan without meeting any quarantine requirements of the Department of Plant Protection, a usual practice which all other fruit importing countries follow, according to a press release of the association.

Retailers were selling plenty of Iranian apples since they got wide profit margins, it said, suggesting that the government should implement the quarantine requirements for the import of fruits and vegetables from Iran.

Apart from this, the Iranian government should be approached for the issuance of import permits in order to balance the trade in greater interest of the country.

The association also highlighted the challenges in the way of acquiring laboratory test certificates from the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, which was a pre-requisite to kinnow exports to Indonesia.

Firstly, a lab test certificate costs around Rs45,000 for supply to a particular Indonesian buyer, which is quite expensive that adds extra cost to the export consignment.

It suggested that the approved lab should be approached for cost revision so that exporters can compete in the Indonesian market.

Secondly, exporters are required to acquire a number of lab test certificates for different Indonesian importers, making it an expensive affair. It proposed that one lab certificate should be valid for the exporter sending consignments to different consignees.

To compete with China, the association asked the government to focus on establishing research and development labs so as to explore the production of new kinnow varieties like those of China and efforts should also be made for making available such varieties from November to June.

courtesy : express tribune

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