Citrus disease damaging exports volume

STAFF REPORT FBD: A citrus disease called greening is threatening to decrease the fruits demand in foreign markets, thus ultimately reducing the volume of foreign exchange.
This was observed by speakers during a recent two-day Citrus Growers Conference organised by the Institute of Horticulture Sciences of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad in collaboration with Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Linkages Programme II.
In his remarks, UAF Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, said that although Pakistan is among the top 10 citrus producing countries, yet the disease is a serious threat to the domestic citrus production that needs immediate steps to cope with the situation.
He said that citrus yield in Pakistan is lower than other countries because of traditional farming and harvesting methods and poor handling. He said that the output can be decrease further if steps are not taken to fight the disease using micro-management tools.
He told the audience that out of total citrus production, 10 percent was being exported, only two percent was processed, 40 percent suffered from post-harvest practices, adding that 95 percent of kinnow was being produced in Punjab.
Project Leader Dr Tahir Khurshid said that under ASLP 2, germplasm would be introduced besides help in developing capacity for extending the marketing season and assist farmers in improving nursery production practices.

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