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March 17, 2020

Virus likely to affect agri exports

Business

March 17, 2020

KARACHI: Closure of air and land routes due to the coronavirus pandemic is likely to cause $150 million loss to horticulture exports during the next two months, stakeholders said on Monday.

Airlines have either reduced or completely halted their operations to Europe, Far East and the Middle East, which resulted in significant reduction in the demand for fruits and vegetables across the world.

Likewise, closure of hotels, restaurants and sharp decline in tourism are also hurting the horticulture exports. “It is anticipated, if the present situation prevails for the next two months, the overall export of fruits and vegetables from Pakistan is likely to sustain huge loss of $150 million,” said Waheed Ahmed, patron-in-chief of Pakistan Fruits and Vegetable Importers Exporters and Merchants Association (PFVA).

After sealing of western border of Pakistan, fruits and vegetable exports through land routes to Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries have also been suspended.

All industrial sectors are under immense pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic, he said, adding that suspension of flights has created serious threat to the trading sector. Transportation of food stuff via sea route is also experiencing problems and, under these circumstances, only those countries having adequate food for their local population and strong agriculture sector can encounter such serious crisis, Ahmed said.