ISLAMABAD, Sep 20 (APP): Minister for National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan has said that government was taking measures for harnessing chili export potential of 90,000 tons valuing US$ 47 million per annum.
Addressing a seminar on ‘export potential of chilies’, he said chili trade plays an important role in the local economy as Pakistan was among the five most chili-producing countries of the world and was one of the most prominent exporters, said a statement received here on Tuesday.
The seminar was organized by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), UASID-AMD, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), SAGP, Chili’s Grower Association and other stakeholders.
It was supported and participated by spices manufacturers such as National, Shan, Mehran, Habib foods and other private sector organizations.
The minister informed that present export markets revolve around Mexico, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Senegal, USA, UAE, Jordon, Bahrain and China.
It has been estimated that Pakistan has a potential to export 90,000 tons chilies worth US$ 47 million per year, he remarked.
The average production, however, he said ranges between 1.6 and 2.7 ton per hectare, which is slightly lower in comparison to that of India and China.
This year, he said the estimated crop size of more than 200,000 tons is expected owing to the increased area under cultivation.
Sikandar Bosan said that the estimated current world trade of chilies is around 0.15 million tones, which is approximately 23 percent of the world import and export of spices.
He said in previous years, Pakistan used to export substantial quantities to the international market, but in recent years, chili exports from the country have come under restrictions, especially in Europe due to aflatoxin contamination, impacting negatively on the export revenues.
Around 35 percent of these rejections were solely due to excessive levels of mycotoxins, he added.
The whole chili supply chain from farm to fork requires massive improvements at all levels.
He said there was no disease free nursery and no other facility of obtaining disease-free seed of our traditional variety, dandicut, which is in high demand all over the world.
Moreover, there is no GAP certification system and most of the drying is done using age-old traditional techniques. This leads to poor productivity and high production costs, he added.
He said that the World Bank aided project and Sindh Agriculture Development are providing matching grants to the farmers for the purchase of green net for chili drying.
The minister said that SMEDA has established drying plant at Umerkot in Sindh.
USAID Agriculture Market Development project has planned to provide funds for raising oleo-raisin extraction plants on matching grants.
This all is incredible but unless “we increase our per hectare yields and minimize the aflatoxin contamination, no value-addition can be economical”, he added.
He urged the relevant departments of Sindh, PARC, aid giving agencies and others national partners to pour in their resources for uplifting of this sector.
He said the Ministry of Commerce and TDAP should consider for development of a “Spice Board” as being done in other countries like India. This board will not only provide day-to-day support but will also bring all the stakeholders at one single platform.