Need of fruit processing plants in rural areas stressed

  • May 28, 2010
Fruit exporters has called upon the government to look for establishing fruit processing plants, especially in rural areas for enhancing the exports of fruits.

During a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), they said that the ecological diversity of Pakistan holds immense potential of producing and exporting high quality fruits, but due to lack of processing facilities, this potential is still lying untapped.

Chairing the meeting, Mr.Karim Aziz Malik, Vice President, ICCI said that Pakistan is producing more than 6,011,228 tons of fruits and 5,719,527 tons of vegetables, but about 30 per cent production of the fruits and vegetables in the country is wasted due to lack of processing facilities.

He said the world fruit and vegetable market is valued at more than $ 80 billion to which Pakistan exported fruits of just $ 208.773 million during July-April 2009-10. He said Pakistan can earn much better foreign exchange by making available fruit processing facilities in fruit producing areas.

The traders said that Pakistan produces more than 30 varieties of fruits in different climatic zones of the country; major among them being citrus, mango, date, apple and banana. However, only a small fraction of these fruits are exported due to lack of storage and processing facilities. They also sought government support in establishing grading and packing facilities of fresh fruits to improve its export prospects.

Mr.Karim Aziz said that setting up of fruit processing plants in rural areas will bring immense benefits to the economy as it will help in value addition of fruits, improve exports, create employment opportunities and uplift the standard of fruit producers and exporters.

He said government should introduce latest fruit processing technology in the country in collaboration with public-private partnership to capture better market share of fruit products in Middle East, Europe, Central Asian States and other world markets.