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Pakistan: Shortage of cold storage system hampers fruit exports

Owing to non-availability of cold storage facilities more than 30 percent of fruits, destined for exporting perish before reaching their destination. ˇ°Several efforts have been made by fruit exporters to draw attention of the government towards this growing problem, but they have failed,ˇ± said Chairman of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association, Abdul Wahid while talking to Daily Times.

He said the non-responsive attitude of the concerned government departments is adding to the miseries of exporters and growers alike. Citing instances in this regard, he said, oranges and mangoes are considered as traditionally most demanding fruits in the foreign markets. ˇ°However, non-availability of cool chain system at fruits farms, Karachi Port and airports and required cooling temperature (which is 3 to 4 degree centigrade) for maintaining freshness of the exportable fruits, has served as deterrence factor as far as their export demand and shelf life is concerned,ˇ± he added.

The chairman of the fruit exporters association said with the passage of time, ratio of fruit perishing is growing mainly on account of global environmental changes. He claimed the government generates substantial revenue annually from fruit export by means of levying of 0.75 percent withholding tax, but instead of utilising the fund for establishment of cold storage facilities, it is diverted to other sectors.

Replying to a question, he attributed dwindling export quantity of major fruits to their poor quality, which does not conform to the international standards.

ˇ°Lack of cold storage facilities results in evaporation of juices from the fruit and deterioration of their skin rendering them undesirable for the buyers,ˇ± he added.

A 10- kg carton of citrus fruits of Australia and Morocco fetches $20 in the international market compared to $5 to $7 for the same weight of Pakistani fruit.

Similarly, growers are also not getting due price of their produce, which is regarded as major compelling factor towards decline in the local yield. A Russian delegation visited Pakistan to assess the quality of fruit processing units. They issued quality certificates only to 14 processing units out of total 125, putting the future of rest of them at stake. They would be allowed to export their fruits only if they develop proper cold storage system and conform their processing units in line with the requirement of international standards.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk

Publication date: 2/4/2008
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