The citrus, especially KINNOW, export season is coming soon in the next few months and will prove to be a mixed blessing for the country. On the one hand, almost 10 percent of the crop was lost due to the alternative bearing factor and weather influences last year.
On the other hand, both the phenomena and the weight and quality of the fruit was improved because trees had to support less fruit, and the country eventually earned nearly 30 percent extra foreign exchange due to better international prices.
According to market figures, which are not absolute, 300,000-325,000 tons of citrus fruits was exported last year and the maximum informal target was around 400,000 tons. These export figures are almost identical to those of 2017, but the profit will rise to $ 120 million compared to $ 90 million last year.
The uncertainty about the finality of both figures – volume and value – comes from road transport (read smuggling) to Iran and Afghanistan. Nobody knows how much citrus has gone to both states in recent years and at what price. But formal figures – less in quantity and more in revenue – is creating optimism for the country and its exporters to export citrus to these countries.
However, the export pattern requires a number of long-term changes in the production and processing of the fruit. Exports of citrus fruits have been growing in recent years. New markets have been found and a niche has been created. Exporters hope that the trend will not only continue, but will also expand in the coming years, especially if some steps are taken, such as;
- Development of new varieties that respond to existing and new market
- Build required infrastructure
- Improve management practices.
HOW CAN WE INCREASE KINNOW EXPORT?
- Two planks need to be worked on for new varieties: for the Eastern European markets and high-quality European markets. Russia and Ukraine have become the largest markets for Pakistani Kinnow in recent years. In the space of five years, their share has risen from almost zero to more than 100,000 tones (around 30 percent of total exports). Both states need a smaller kinnow, which they consume with spirits because of their strong taste and high sucrose content. Their share is increasing every year.
- However, domestic production focuses on large and medium-sized fruit. All efforts to date have focused on increasing the size and appearance of the fruit, because the traditional markets of Pakistan – the Middle East and the Far East – need them. With the emerging large markets in Eastern Europe, it is necessary to adjust domestic production.
- For this purpose, Pakistan must develop a new variety of seeds that meets the requirements of Russia, Ukraine and possibly other Eastern European states. The size of fruit can also be controlled with management practices. But it would be better if the country could somehow develop a new breed that did not grow larger than a certain size. The exporters hope to increase their share in the area due to similar consumption patterns in the region. From a long-term perspective, the country needs to expand its gene pool for citrus fruits.
- There is also a need to develop a variety that has reduced the calorific value. Consumers, especially in high-quality European markets, have become calorie conscious. With the current high calorific value, the fruit may not find many buyers in very health-conscious European markets. The exporters have so far focused on the Pakistani population in the European states. The policy has its own advantages, but it also limits the chances of multiplying exports. It is time to think further than the ethnic population.
- In addition to developing new varieties for niche markets, it is necessary to build cool chains in the citrus-producing area. Their absence influences both production and quality and deteriorates the so-called alternative bearing factor – a phenomenon that produces better production for one year and reduces the following season. In the absence of storage infrastructure, farmers use trees as shops and postpone their harvest until very late. Thus, with late harvest, flushes for the next crop begin to appear on the tree and press valuable resources that affect both the existing and the next crop. Ideally, the trees should be cleared early or mid-February. But it is delayed until mid-March or late March.
- The situation can only improve if cool chains are built in the citrus-producing areas and the crop therein shifts on time. Fortunately, Pakistan’s processing industry is improving and bringing dividends to local sellers. Even last year, farmers and sellers made more money on the local market than on exports. So the only missing link, as far as infrastructure is concerned, is a cool chain system to save the crop.
- Export to the European market requires a very extensive system of quality assurance and weaves them throughout the entire production and supply chain. This must be ensured in order to increase exports to much more than seven to eight percent of domestic production, which can easily rise to 20 percent without affecting the domestic market.
- There are some examples in the world, such as Chile, the Netherlands and Thailand, which have multiplied their horticultural exports within a few years, to billions of dollars. Given Pakistan’s natural gifts – four seasons and fertile land – it is surprising why it cannot learn from their experience and increase exports to 20 to 30 percent of domestic production.
Furthermore, Pakistan’s first ever B2B, etradepakistan.com helps to facilitate exports to export their KINNOW / Citrus to international markets. If you want to export your KINNOW to international markets, click on this link etradepakistan.com and create your own free store and get a high boost for your business.