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Pakistan and China can collaborate to launch fruit quality enhancement centres, fruit processing units, dehydration plants and cold storage chains to prepare Pakistani fruits in line with international standards for export to global markets, said Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) President SM Naveed.

Speaking at a think tank session on Monday, he said that the fruit sector of Pakistan had enormous potential that could be beneficial for both countries. “There is a dire need to form a preliminary research team in order to put ideas into practice.”

He emphasised that the aim was to import fresh, processed and dry fruits from Pakistan, which would be re-exported to the rest of the world after value addition.

Speaking on the occasion, PCJCCI Senior Vice President Daud Ahmed said that Pakistan produced a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, with total annual production estimated at nine million tons.

This includes 438,000 tons of mangoes, 525,000 tons of apples, 126,000 tons of guavas, apricots and other such fruits, and 1.914 million tons of bananas, grapes, pomegranates, pears and dates.

PCJCCI Vice President Khalid Raffique Choudhry pointed out that unfortunately, due to lack of advanced processing and packaging techniques, nearly 50% of the total fruit production was being wasted during harvesting, transportation, grading and processing for value addition and while reaching markets for export of fresh fruit and value-added products. He added that the major operational activities in the process that needed attention included sorting, washing, waxing, drying, grading and packaging.

PCJCCI Secretary General Salahuddin Hanif added that it would be a great initiative if China established fruit processing and value addition plants in Pakistan, which would be beneficial for both countries.

Highlighting the prospects of joint ventures in mango cultivation, he said that with a total area of 167.5 thousand hectares under mango cultivation, it was the second major fruit crop of Pakistan after citrus and the country was ranked fourth in the world in mango production.

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