Despite record vegetable exports, revenues fall

Despite exporting 1.035 million tonnes of vegetables in the first nine months of the last Fiscal Year 2022-23, Pakistan earned a limited foreign exchange due to the falling vegetable prices, reports WealthPK.

During the period, Pakistan earned $235 million from vegetable exports, which is slightly lower than $240 million earned from 675,331 tonnes in the same period last year.

The average per-tonne price (APT) in 9MFY23 decreased to $227, a significant drop from the $356 price recorded during the same period last fiscal year. The country exported 1.022 million tonnes in the entire FY19, fetching a total of $234 million.

The United Nations' food agency reports that the world food prices have dropped to their lowest level in two years. The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 124.3 points in May against a revised 127.7 for the previous month. The April reading was originally given as 127.2.

“Pakistan is one of the world's largest producers of vegetables, with a diverse range of crops grown across the country. However, despite this tremendous potential, the country has earned less in return for exports of fruits and vegetables,” said Dr. Nurullah, Senior Scientific Officer at the National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC).

“To earn a good profit amidst dropping food prices worldwide, Pakistan should consider implementing various measures to reduce costs and enhance competitiveness in the global market.

“Furthermore, the government should encourage and support the farmers to adopt efficient and sustainable farming practices. This includes promoting the use of modern technologies, better irrigation methods, and high-yield crop varieties. Increased productivity can help offset the impact of falling prices.

“There is a need to focus on improving the entire agricultural value chain, from production to distribution. Reducing post-harvest losses, improving storage facilities, and enhancing transportation systems can all contribute to cost reduction and better market access.

“Additionally, to support exporters during periods of global price drops, the government needs to provide export tax rebates, reduced packaging materials, and transportation tariffs. These measures can help boost competitiveness and maintain a steady flow of exports,” Dr Nurullah added.

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