PHDEC hosts webinar on SPS requirements to facilitate potato growers, exporters for potato exports

ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan is a significant produc­er of potatoes, with an annual production of about 7.8 million metric tonnes. The country also exports approximately 0.95 mil­lion metric tonnes of potatoes an­nually, with exports starting from January and continuing until the end of April. Some of the major importing countries for Pakistani potatoes include Sri Lanka, the Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Malay­sia, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. Keeping in view the above, PHDEC conducted a webinar on the topic of “Awareness Session on SPS Re­quirements of Potato Exports for Central Asian Countries” as Paki­stan is among the top 15 largest producers of potato in the world.

The webinar aims to educate entrepreneurs and potential po­tato exporters regarding sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) require­ments of Central Asian countries. Detailed information regard­ing the introduction of SPS, its compliance through different processes, packaging, documen­tations, certifications, and test reports will be shared with po­tato sector exporters. Mr Athar Hussain Khokhar, CEO PHDEC, welcomed the participants and briefed about the purpose of we­binar. He thanked all the partici­pants for attending the webinar and assured the audiences that PHDEC will keep organising such kind of activities virtually and on ground for the development of horticulture industry of Pakistan.

Mr Muhammad Aqeed Mehdi, Entomologist/ Quarantine Of­ficer/ Incharge Okara Outpost, Department of Plant Protection (DPP) during his presentation stated that objective of using a phytosanitary measure is to achieve pest mortality and pre­vent the introduction or spread of regulated pests at a specified efficacy. He stated that phytosani­tary security must be maintained during and after treatment, the re­sponsible certifying body may de­termine specific phytosanitary se­curity measures. He further added that most common methods of securing product against pests includes using a secure area with product segregation and trace­ability and using secure packag­ing or a combination of both. Dur­ing concluding remarks, he added that Central Asian states espe­cially Kazakhstan are diverting to new potato importing countries to meet the demand. It is need of hour for Pakistan to take advan­tage of this situation and acquire the potato market of Central Asia.

Mr Ataullah, Trade and In­vestment Counselor, Tashkent (Kazakhstan), highlighted Paki­stan’s tremendous export poten­tial, particularly in the lucrative market of Kazakhstan. Mr Malik Abdul Majeed, Trade and Invest­ment Attaché, Dushanbe (Ta­jikistan), shed light on Pakistan’s status as Tajikistan’s largest po­tato import destination. He stat­ed that Tajikistan is importing 35,000 to 50,000 tonns potatoes annually which includes around 60 percent only from Pakistan.

Ms Rizwana Qazi, Trade and Investment Counselor, Almaty (Kazakhstan), stated that in 2022-2023 most of the potato imports of Kazakhstan were mainly from Pakistan. The TIOs collectively assured the audience of their readiness to address any trade-related inquiries from po­tato growers and exporters. A large number of entrepreneurs and potential potato exporters participated in the webinar and appreciated the PHDEC’s initia­tive of conducting the webinar on an important topic of SPS re­quirements of potato exports for Central Asian countries.

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