Horticulture and Livestock sectors have tremendous growth potential and their relative importance can be gauged from high growth rate of exports from Pakistan due to ever increasing demand in high value international markets. During financial year (2011-12), the fruit exportshave increased by USD 71 millionover the same period last year. Pakistan is struggling to further increase exports, however, lack of infrastructure for post-harvest treatmentsand inefficient transport facilities result in inconsistent quality and a shorter shelf life of fruit. Every year a sizeable (30 to 40 percent in some cases) of fruits and vegetable yields are wasted and promising export markets remain untapped. These conditions deprive farmers of the profit margins attainable through sea shipment and leave an opportunity for substantial improvement in industry.
Agribusiness Support Fund under its International Market Access Program has been making efforts for establishing market linkages of Pakistani fruits, vegetables and livestock producers/exporters with International buyers. In September 2012, the project supported ten Pakistani fruits and vegetable exporting businesses to participate in the World Food Moscow, the largest agribusiness exposition in the Russian Federation and Central Asia. Pakistani companies exhibited more than thirteen fruits and vegetables products including dates, potato, chilies, capsicum, gourds, peaches, dried apricots, almonds and processed fresh juices.
Participation in this marketing event has not only provided an enabling environment for networking and establishing business to business contacts, but it has started showing remarkable results for increased sales to foreign markets. As of September 2013, three companies received export orders worth USD 10.8 million to buyers besides employing63new staff (42 male and 21 female i.e. 33% female) in their businesses.These companies sold products with an export value of USD 6.7 million to buyers from Russia, UAE and Saudi Arabia. They have appreciated ASF support in this regard and declared participation in the marketing event as a major success.
The expo was attended by a large number of international companies including major exhibitors from USA, Australia, China, Russian Federation, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Chile, Turkey and Egypt participated. ASF supported companies had business meetings with large buyers from Russian Federation including Fruit Brothers, Prodgama, Souz Contract, Magnit, Arm fruit, Akhmed Fruit, Antalia, Globus and AgroFruit.
ASF aimed at increasing competitiveness in horticulture and livestock value chains through different demand driven, commercially viable and sustainable agribusiness interventions, participation in such successful business events and meetings with international buyers create a positive impact on the local businesses.
One of the participants of WFM, Ms, Noushaba Shahzad, Shahzad Asia International, Islamabad, found her participation in WFM productive in terms of increasing export sales and developing linkages with two new buyers from Russia and Indonesia. She reported that as a result, her company exported Mandarine to a buyer in Russia and Potato to a buyer in Indonesia worth USD 1.2 m, and employed 10 new staff. Ms. Noshaba thanked ASF for providing the opportunity to explore new markets for Pakistani products.