Pakistan produces numerous types of fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Some of the best varieties of mangoes, oranges, apricots and grapes are grown in the country. But most of the farmers grow them on small scale that is why the produce barely meets the demand of the local markets. Most of the fruits widely circulated in the international markets like apple, grape, banana, strawberry and cherry are grown in huge amounts but again they are consumed domestically.
Among fruits, mango and oranges are top of the list. Bothe these fruits make almost 50% of the total fruit export of the country. Despite this huge contribution in national revenue, they are still somehow not produced in enough quantity to compete in the global market.
Pakistani mangoes are famous all around the world and are typically recognized by their sweet aroma. Pakistan holds the 4th rank among the mango producing and exporting countries in the world. But still there is a huge potential of growing the exports in this aspect. In case of oranges, the country is the 6th in the international ranking. There is a rich variety of oranges like Kinnow, Clementine and Mandarin that are widely exported every year. Pakistan is also the 6th largest producer of apricot, but exports only part of it and that too mostly in dried form. Another important fruit is date palm, for which Pakistan is the 5th biggest producer on the globe.
Among vegetables, potato and onion are the main exports, constituting around 60% of the vegetable export. Although the production of other vegetables suffices the domestic demands, yet there is not much scope when it comes to export of vegetables. Absence of adequate cold storage facilities leaves the produce with very short shelf life. The production cost is quite high and to add to that, high freight fares make the total cost too high to compete the producers that provide the global market with cheaper produce.
All these exports of fresh produce are basically the surplus that is left over after domestic consumption. Most of the growers primarily produce for the local market and are mostly not abreast with much latest technology to increase their production or even its transportation or preservation of freshness for longer.
Measures to be taken
The farmers should be provided with incentives to enhance their produce. They can easily broaden their horizons in the regional market. Gulf countries are major importers of fresh produce and can serve as a continuous source of income. There is huge potential in this regard and attracting investors in this sector can be extremely beneficial for all the parties involved in this business. The demand has increased over time and is likely to amplify with the growing population in developing as well as developed countries.
Boosting exports in this sector can also be an effective remedy for the economic slump that the country is currently facing. The primary investment is not colossal yet fruitful as the climatic conditions and other factors are all in our favor.