PBF for setting up centers to increase perishable exports

DM Monitoring

LAHORE: The Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) called for establishing ripening centres in the country to facilitate the needs of sophisticated international mango market. In this regard, the Ministry of Commerce should devise a policy and allow zero per cent duty on import of required machinery by issuing the SRO, it demanded.
PBF Vice President Ahmad Jawad told APP here that establishment of ripening centres with proper treatment, Pakistani mangoes and bananas would fetch double rates, besides increasing the export volumes. Similarly five-year tax holiday should be granted to the respective firms which would operate the facility, as it would encourage private sector to invest in this business.
Jawad said Pakistani mangoes were naturally blessed a brix level from 18 to 22, which was ideally for any buyer, but in order to maintain uniformity of brix level in every mango carton, the proper ripening centres were required.
In high value markets, he said, buyers required same uniformity on each consignment in the form of brix level, but Pakistan had yet to manage this due to lack of technology, which was not acceptable for high end buyers. Even in local markets, fruits were ripened with calcium carbide which was not good for health. Identification of safe bananas and mangoes from the market had become very difficult for the common people and it should be replaced by ripened with ‘Ethylene’ and it was more better if through proper ripening centres; as it was easier and safer to use and leaves no residue.
He added that Pakistan annually produced more than two million tonnes of mangoes but the exports hardly crossed 150,000-tonne mark, which was nothing as compared to the potential. “Surprisingly, certain segments of exporters every year issued unpractical statements as to why the country yet to achieve mango exports target,” he added. During the last seasons, a high value outlet in Dubai mostly sold Thai mangoes at the rate of 49.50 dirhams per kg against Pakistani mangoes at the rate of 13.50 dirhams per kg in its outlet, regardless of the fact that Pakistani mangoes were best in taste and had unique aroma, but Thai mangoes had same brix value in their cartons; he claimed.
Jawad mentioned that Pakistani horticulture industry had not establish required infrastructure yet, owing to the negligence of the public and private sectors.
“We have issues of climate changes, which also affect fruit production at certain level, but that does not mean our exports get affected by this reason.