Pakistan exported agricultural products worth Rs 288. 18 billion last year

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ISLAMABAD :Pakistan last year exported agriculture products worth Rs 288. 18 billion including food grains, vegetables, fruits, tobacco, fisheries products, spices and livestock.

According to Food and Agriculture Ministry (Minfal) officials Pakistan during 2009-10 exported fruits amounting to Rs 20 billions, Rs 19 billions fisheries products, Rs 1. 15 billions tobacco/tobacco products, Rs 180 billions rice including Basmati and Irri-6, Rs 10 billions vegetables, Rs 10 billions livestock and meat products, Rs 2. 25 billions spices, R 13. 78 billions oilseeds/nuts and Rs 32 billions other agri products to different countries.

Agriculture sector of Pakistan accounts for over 21 percent of GDP and is the primary supplier of raw material to the downstream industry and therefore contributes substantially to Pakistan s exports besides, absorbing 45 per cent of the total labour force.

Chairman Agri Forum Pakistan, Muhammad Ibrahim Mughal, when contacted said agriculture sector has the great potential to attain high value targets, but the government was not giving due attention to agriculture sector. Development of the sector would help enhance competitiveness of our export products and ensures a better return; it would also decrease dependence on imports thereby narrowing the trade gap. He added.

He said that Pakistan s economy was totally dependant on the sector, but it faced so many challenges including low productivity of different crops, traditional means of farming, outdated marketing practices, insufficient agriculture credit and lack of research. In future Pakistani agriculture sector would face severe water shortage as successive governments had failed in building water reservoirs which are essential for crops production.

According to Minfal officials, Pakistan last year exported 153,543 live animals, which is 15 per cent more than the previous year. Pakistan at present had around 110. 055 million animals. According to chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap), Irfan Ahmed Sheikh, Pakistan is world s fifth largest exporter of rice, exported 2. 38 million tons between July and February 2010-11, down from 2. 82 million tons in the same period last year. The export of non-basmati rice dropped 25 per cent to 1. 66 million tons from 2. 22 million tons during the first eight months of the 2010/11.

But the shortfall was marginally offset by a nearly 19 per cent rise in the export of basmati rice to 718,187 tons, from 603,389 tons in 2009/10, he said. The shortfall in exports of non-basmati rice is mainly due to flood damage to the crop, Irfan referred to August floods last year which inflicted about $10 billion losses to the economy. Basmati-growing areas remained safe from the floods, while Irri-6 areas in Sindh province were badly hit by the floods.

Pakistan had a bumper crop of 6. 7 million tons of milled rice in 2009/10 and exported about 4. 5 million tons; domestic annual consumption was about 2. 3 millions tons. According to officials, currently Pakistan has exported 1. 2 million tons of wheat out of a total of 3 million tons allowed by the government. If Pakistani exporters successfully export three million tons of wheat at current international prices ie $340 per ton it would earn $1. 02 billions. This year Pakistan has achieved its kinnow export target for 2010-11 by exporting about 300,000 metric tons of the commodity. Citrus was grown on an area of about 199. 5 thousand hectare with annual production of 2458. 5 thousand metric tons.

According to Pakistan Horticulture and Development Company, Pakistan produces over 1. 6 million tons of mangoes annually and last year it exported about 130,000 tons The demand for Pakistani fruit and vegetables is high across the world. Presently, Pakistan is exporting fruits and vegetables to US, Europe, Middle East, Far East, India and Sri Lanka. Mango, kinow, apple, dates, pine nuts, oranges, banana and guava are few well exported fruits and among vegetables potato, onion, mushroom, garlic and chillies are major export items.

The data shows that Pakistan is heavily relying on one market for exporting each item. For example, Dubai is the biggest market for Pakistani mango following England and Saudi Arabia. Sri Lanka is the only market for Pakistani fresh apple as over 90 per cent of the fruit is being exported to Sri Lanka. There is a need to explore new markets for Pakistani fruits and vegetables to expand export base.

Kinow is the most exportable fruit of Pakistan and 32. 5 per cent of total exports is being made to the Middle East alone, followed by Indonesia (22. 5 per cent), Philippines (16 per cent), Sri Lanka (11. 6 per cent) and remaining 17. 4 per cent to other markets of the world, but this year a huge quantity of Kinows was exported to Afghanistan, which raised the price of fruit in the local market.

Courtesy: Business Recorder


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