Kinnow export needs to be raised

KARACHI: Chairman, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Standing Committee on Horticulture and Food Exports, Ahmad Jawad on Tuesday termed the slogan of kinnow “easy to peel’ for the European Union, one of the most attractive markets for Pakistani fruits and vegetables because of its size and the paying capacity of its consumers. Within the EU, Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands are major importers of fresh Pakistani fruits and vegetables.

While chairing a meeting, he said in the European market, Pakistani citrus has an insignificant 0.09 pc share. In the sub-category of mandarins and clementines, Pakistan has a market share of 0.04 pc. As a table fruit, Pakistani kinnow’s availability in the European market is irregular. Kinnow is mainly used as a raw material for juice by a few big companies in Europe, but it is not consistently imported as a table fruit.

Despite the disadvantage of having seeds, kinnow have the potential to penetrate the European market provided a consistent long-term strategy is implemented; Jawad remarked.

Jawad said foreign sales of citrus constitute more than one-third of the $300 million in proceeds from export of all fruits from Pakistan. With annual citrus production of nearly 2.0 million tonnes over an area of around 200,000 hectares, Pakistan is the 12th largest producer of citrus and the largest producer of Kinnow in the world.

According to an estimate, nearly 95pc of total Kinnow production is in Pakistan. This concentration of production makes Kinnow essentially a Pakistani ‘specialty’ fruit.

Though in the mainstream market segment, the Pakistani Kinnow has to compete with seedless mandarin and clementine from Spain, Morocco, Argentina and South Africa. Though smaller in average size and harder to peel, mandarins from competitors are claiming a larger market share because of being seedless.

In the ethnic market segment, the availability of Kinnow needs to be increased. Currently, supplies are intermittent, and a regular demand-supply pattern is not established. Pakistan’s Trade Offices in European countries can help overcome this problem by coordinating with importers to stagger their shipments during the entire season. Further we also need to increase our focus on the traceability of the products and motivate farmers, processors and exporters to attain global certifications. This drive needs to be intensified, and farmer awareness programmes, especially those on use of fertilisers and pesticides, need to be increased; he added