ISLAMABAD, Dec 13 (APP): The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Sunday informed that potato export was increasing as the Pakistani potatoes had a good market abroad and was expected to surge the trade volume in potential markets.

A consultative session to discuss the issues pertaining to exports of potatoes was held at the Ministry of Commerce, via Video Link, said a press release issued here.

The meeting was attended by the officials of MOC, Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR), and Department of Plant Protection (DPP).

The meeting also discussed in detail all bottlenecks being faced by farmers and exporters.

The Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood announced that he would visit the potato growing areas of the country soon to get first hand feedback on the issues faced by the farmers.

He advised the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to double its efforts for marketing Pakistani potatoes abroad.

The adviser held an intensive interaction with the participants.

It was also agreed that the MOC would also explore new markets for exporting Pakistani potatoes and all efforts would be made to obtain tariff concessions in that regard.

“It is noted with appreciation that Potato yield and area under cultivation are increasing.”

The Chairman of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA), Waheed Ahmad, office-bearers of the Potato Growers Coop Society, farmers and the exporters of potatoes also participated in the session.

The participants informed the meeting about the bottlenecks in enhancing the export of potatoes, which included staffing of DPP, High Air Freight, lack of Research and development (R/D), Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) issues, yield, cost of production, lack of modernisation, and climate change.

After extensive discussions, it was agreed that the Department of Plant Protection field offices would be established in all major potato growing areas.

This measure will greatly facilitate the exporters by saving the time for pre-shipment inspection and delay in sending their consignments.

In the meeting, it was also agreed that to facilitate the export of potatoes, the issue of opening the Khunjrab pass for longer duration would also be examined.

It was agreed to establish that establishment of a Potato Development Council would be explored.

A follow-up meeting of MOC and MNFSR would also be held next week.