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May 8, 2021

Pakistan records highest kinnow export volume

KARACHI: Pakistan earned $253 million by exporting the highest-ever kinnow volume of 460,000 tons during 2020-21, as global demand for the fruit increased due to its immunity boosting characteristics.

Kinnow demand grew significantly across the globe due to its vital role in strengthening human immunity against the deadly Covid-19 disease.

During the export season concluded April 2021, Pakistan exported 460,000 tons kinnow to 40 countries globally, which was 30 percent higher compared to last year’s export volume of 353,000 tons. Pakistan earned valuable foreign exchange of $253 million through export of kinnow.

According to Waheed Ahmed, Patron-in-Chief, All Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association (PFVA), though the export target of kinnow for year 2020-21 was 350,000 tons, the country attained higher export volume due to extensive government assistance.

Despite record export of kinnow, exporters sustained financial losses since the orders were placed at an exchange rate of Rs168/$1, whereas the payments were made at Rs153/$1 as rupee attained stability.

Pakistani kinnow could not fetch a fair price due to lockdown in international markets, while a disproportionate increase in the cost of freight further multiplied the financial losses; the highest loss was sustained in the Russian market, said Waheed Ahmed.

The export consignments of Kinnow could not reach international export markets due to lockdown and problems in transportation leading to quality issue of the consignments. In some cases, numerous export consignments simultaneously reached many international markets due to issues of logistic support. This also resulted in damping, and even the cost of export shipments could not be recovered, increasing losses for exporters.

Waheed Ahmed said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, export of kinnow was suspended to Afghanistan and Iran due to closure of borders. However, on appeal of the PFVA the Ministries of Commerce and Interior played an active role to facilitate kinnow export on priority basis as soon as the borders were re-opened.

The PFVA also exported kinnow to the UK after a long gap of seven years, as the UK exited from the European Union.

Ahmed also acknowledged efforts made by the Ministry of National Food Security & Research, and the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) for ensuring timely issuance of the phyto-certificates during lockdown and permitting smooth movement of export consignments by reducing time of inspection.

He said the industry of citrus fruits faces numerous challenges, which include outdated orchards having less resistance against various diseases, low quality seeds, problems of poor cosmetic look, limited varieties, besides short export window of three to four months for kinnow.