Pak horticulture sector needs a quality boost
STAFF REPORT IBD: Pakistani agriculture products are the best in the world, yet the sector has not excelled to its true potential. The focus of untrained people in the horticulture field has been on increasing production, rather than on improving the quality of the product.
“This is a big loss – roughly 30 per cent of Pakistans total vegetable production and about 40 per cent of fruits are being wasted,” said CEO Harvest Trading and Member Export Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ahmad Jawad, said in a discussion.
Pakistan enjoys its place as the fifth largest producer of mangoes, fourth largest producer of dates and thirteenth largest producer of citrus, but the lack of post-harvest and cold chain infrastructure is seriously hampering Pakistans horticulture export potential.
Every year, 2.2 million tons of vegetables and about 3 million tons of fruits go to waste during and after harvest. Unfortunately, however, lack of awareness among Pakistani exporters regarding global food safety standards, cohesive supply chains, and marketing systems are to blame for keeping the volume of the countrys produce export low.
“If the emerging problem is not resolved on priority basis, exports may not move as fast, largely because of international sensitivity to quality issues,” added Jawad.