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Seminar on Export Potential of Pakistani Chilies in International Market

Karachi (20 September 2016) ............…. Chili is an important ingredient of everyday food in Pakistan and chili trade plays an important role in the local economy. Pakistan is among the five most chili-producing nations of the world, and is one of the most prominent exporters of chili. This was stated by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFSR) Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan while addressing a seminar on export potential of chilies in a local hotel in Karachi.

The Federal Minister for NFSR said that the 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 per year, which would help bring the country much needed foreign exchange of 47 million US dollars per year.

The Minister said that the average production, however, ranges between 1.6 and 2.7 ton per hectare, which is slightly lower in comparison to that of India and China. This year the estimated crop yield of more than 2 lac tons is expected owing to the increased area under cultivation.

Mr. Bosan said that the estimated current world trade of chilies is around 0.15 million tones, which is approximately 23% of the world import/export of spices. In previous years, Pakistan used to export substantial quantities to the international market, but in recent years, chili exports from Pakistan have come under restrictions, especially in Europe due to aflatoxin contamination, impacting negatively on the export revenues in Pakistan. Around 35% of these rejections were solely due to excessive levels of mycotoxins.  

He said that the rejection of chili consignment and the restrictions imposed have acted as an invisible trade barrier and have led to a number of downstream negative impacts on the supply chain of chili within Pakistan. The whole chili supply chain from farm to fork requires massive improvements at all levels. He said there is 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 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. 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 urged the relevant departments of Sindh Government, 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.

The seminar was organized by TDAP, UASID-AMD, PARC, SAGP, Chili’s Grower Association and other stakeholders. It was supported and participated by spice manufacturers such as National, Shan, Mehran, Habib foods and other private sector.

( Sardar Ghulam Mustafa )                                                  Edited by : (Sabiha Amin)
Director (PR&P) PARC                                                         Principal Editor (SI), NARC
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