BE2C2 Report — Pakistan has exported its first ever vegetable consignment via sea to Dubai under the U.S.-Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural Market Development, according to a social media announcement by the USAID today.
The experiment will considerably increase exports because of sharply lower freight cost compared to air shipments.
Calculations suggest the average per kg cost of air shipment to Dubai is around Rs80 per kg compared to Rs5 per kg through sea route, which is lower by 16 times.
AMD Project Chief of Party Peter Dickrell believed that the project would open up new doors for growers, exporters, processors and other stakeholders of the industry.
According to the arrangement, five exporters of Pakistan will receive the consignment in Dubai and display the vegetables at the upcoming Gulf Food Festival. In an unrelated news, a Pakistani Food Festival is also being organized in Jeddah by the Consulate in the first week of March.
Exporters will henceforth be able to use the route commercially to export fruits and vegetables to Dubai, which receives about 35% of total Pakistani vegetable exports.
The consignment of nine selected vegetables – tomato, brinjal, cucumber, carrot, okra, long melon and others – was shipped on an experimental basis as part of the ongoing assistance being provided by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to give a boost to the value chain and marketing of fruits and vegetables. As part of the program, Pakistan last year held its first Pakistani Halal Meat event in the U.A.E.
“The freight service via sea will not only drastically reduce cost of the project, but will also enable exporters to tap more markets in the UAE and other Gulf countries,” said Waheed Ahmed, former chairman of the Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association.
India is already using the sea route for exports of highly competitive fresh products to the Middle Eastern markets. “Pakistan will also be able to compete in the market of vegetable and horticulture products, if the experiment of sea freight becomes successful,” he said.
According to Ahmed, the consignment shipped via sea will reach Dubai within three to four days.
The consignment of nine vegetables, weighing seven tons, was earlier processed and packed under the supervision of experts of the AMD-USAID at a packaging house in Gharo, Sindh, The Express Tribune reported.
The process was monitored by Dr Mubarak Ahmed, former director general of the Department of Plant Protection and Dr Waqar Ahmed of AMD-USAID’s Value Chain.