Islamabad: Pakistan has become the third largest exporter of dates in the world with the Ministry of Commerce and Textile now looking for ways to enhance the sector with proper attention and appropriate interventions.
“The date sector offers ample opportunities for exports, income and employment generation in addition to economic growth of the country,” said an official of the Ministry of Commerce and Textile.
“The annual production of dates in Pakistan is estimated to be around 535,000 tons of which only 86,000 are exported and the rest are consumed locally,” he informed.
Harvest Trading Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jawad added that the Pakistani date exports could be raised to $200 million from the current $28 million with proper processing and packaging.
“Since 1999, per acre yield of dates in Pakistan has not increased, whereas worldwide production increased by 166%.
“Importers of dates such as Germany, Denmark, India, Nepal, USA, UK, Afghanistan and Canada are re-exporting Pakistani dates after quality enhancement and preparation of by-products, at a price that is four to six times higher than their import price.
“Of the 300 varieties of dates produced in Pakistan, Begam Jangi of Balochistan, Aseel of Sindh and Dhakki of Dera Ismail Khan are the varieties which most popular due to their exotic taste.”