Pakistan produces around 300,000 tons of fresh apricot, making it one of the world’s largest producers. Majority of these come from Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Balochistan and 96% of the income from their sale goes directly to small farmers, contributing to the development of sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation in the areas. Pakistan exports only 384 tons dried and 138tons of fresh apricots and a huge potential exists to increase exports in the growing international market.
Since apricot is a perishable fruit and the areas of its production are not easily accessible, it is difficult to ensure that fresh produce reaches the market without significant losses during transportation. Dried apricots then become an important option. Another potential opportunity exists for the introduction of improved varieties of apricot, as well as value addition of existing produce through introducing new technologies.
The Agribusiness Project (TAP) is working on increasing the productivity and profitability of the Apricot Value Chain through various interventions. The project aims to benefit 920 rural households directly, resulting in an increase in individual income as well as an increased production volume by 48% as a result of these interventions. It is envisioned that 1,000 beneficiaries will be applying new technologies or management practices as a result of the project’s assistance.
- Provide training to apricot farmers in grafting, tree pruning, crop thinning and apricot picking.
- Train members of Farmer Enterprise Groups (FEGs) in enterprise development and post-harvest handling of apricot.
- Design and establish new orchards for the promotion of new improved varieties of apricot.
- Provide toolkitsto Apricot orchards owners and Women Extension Service Providers (WESPAs)for pruning, grafting, picking and harvesting.
- Provide solar drying tunnels for improved dehydration and drying of apricot accompanied by training for their effective use.
- Introduce improved packaging for dried apricots.
- Participate in international exhibitions and trade shows.
- Link Apricot farmers to buyers and processors to help them in value addition of their dried apricots.
- Provide support to export-oriented enterprises in technology transfer and compliance with the certifications required for boosting exports.
USAID helps Pakistani exporting companies to export fruit and vegetables worth USD 6.7 m through participation in World Food Moscow, from Sep. 17-21,12