PHDEC YET TO GIVE DUE DIVIDENDS TO THE HORTICULTURE SECTOR OF PAKISTAN

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ISLAMABAD, AUG 24 /DNA/ Stakeholders on Tuesday urged the federal government to take notice of Pakistan Horticulture Development Export Company’s (PHDEC) failure to play its due role in enhancing this sector’s exports and decide if it’s worth it.
Talking to media, Vice President of Pakistan Businesses Forum and former FPCCI Chief on Agriculture, Ch Ahmad Jawad said to date the country has no export strategy for this emerging industry and Pakistan’s share in international market is meager” 
He said according to 2015 IFPRI IMPACT projections, Russia’s demand for fruit would the fastest growing category in food demand, reaching $11.4 billion and same was true for China, which could be a tremendous opportunities for Pakistani fruits.
Jawad said though PHDEC initially worked somehow well, it latter virtually becomes dormant. “PHDEC failed to introduce concrete measures for the promotion of horticulture exports. Even from the last five years company runs through acting chiefs.”

He said despite global trade, demand for horticulture commodities had increased over time. “It has quadrupled, from $51 billion in 2001 to $200 billion in 2018 and in contrast Pakistan has been unable to capitalise from the growth in global demand.”
It was due to a lack of focus and inadequate investment in requisite infrastructure such as cold chain, packing houses, proper logistics, and processing units however till date Pakistan horticulture exports around $700 million, which was unfortunate.
Jawad further told the officials of the commerce ministry mostly believed that after the 18th amendment, horticulture sector was under the mandate of the provinces and the federal government had nothing do with it, but they ignored the aspect regarding exports of horticulture sector as it was the sole responsibility of the commerce ministry to look after the affairs and problems of this sector.
On the question of packaging of horticulture commodities for export sector, Ahmad Jawad said the packaging is rising an essential element for export operation, impacting the safety, cost, communication and even marketing of your agricultural products; but we are behind as per international standards. Agricultural packaging has gained immense popularity across the world. According to Statista, the global agricultural packaging market is expected to reach $5.02 billion by the end of 2023.
He viewed the primary purpose of the agricultural packaging is not limited to protecting the cargo during the international logistic process. The packaging is also an essential element of the product’s marketing, as it conveys a strong image of the company in front of the consumers.
Unfortunately country horticulture export companies have lack in it, our packaging pattern and colour scheme was not up to mark. In today’s export world the presentation of the produce matters, in this regard our exporters should understand the new concept of packaging. He quoted the example that citrus exports used to be shipped in pallets so that cartons should be in shaped but from Pakistan our mostly exporters don’t follow that and in result it created bad impact infront of the buyer once it reached to the destination. 
Through attractive pacaking country agriculture exports could earn around $100 milion extra.
PBF official also suggested Ministry of Commerce must lay down some SOP’s in the account of packaging for agriculture and horticulture commodities.