Owing to a loss of innovation, the dates industry of Pakistan, which is the 5th largest producer in the world, is on a downward trajectory.In 1999, Pakistan produced 540,000 tonnes of dates annually. Instead of rising, this quantity went all the way down to 467,000 tonnes in 2015-16, in keeping with knowledge gathered through the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).
Balochistan is the most important producer of dates in Pakistan because it produces 45% of the full production. Sindh stands at the second position with 43% share, followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) with 2% and Punjab with 1%.
Balochistan’s Turbat district produces 100,000 tonnes of dates, almost one-fourth of the full production of Pakistan, while Panjgur produces 83,000 tonnes. On the opposite hand, Sindh’s Khairpur district produces 237,000 tonnes, which is 42% of the entire manufacturing of the rustic. “This makes Khairpur a densely palm populated area,” said a source at the Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF). In 2016, Pakistan exported dates worth $102 million, which could cross as much as $200 million, said Mir Mohsin Bullo, Assistant Manager TDAP Sub-Regional Office, Sukkur.
“The government needs to pay urgent attention to production, processing and quality enhancement, preservation, research and marketing to save and ensure growth of this potent source of foreign exchange,” he wrote in his document in October 2017. Yet, these issues nonetheless persist thus far.
There are myriad of problems, leading to a decline in Pakistan’s date production, consistent with the SEDF source. A palm tree, which is the source of date manufacturing, grows in seven to eight years and produces the fruit at its optimal stage for 25 years, and then its manufacturing starts declining, due to this fact, the tree must be replaced.
The 300 forms of dates, which Pakistan produces, also are 50 years previous and aren’t in nice call for the world over, he stated, including due to that prices of Pakistani dates vary between Rs100 and Rs250 consistent with kg within the world market while other date sorts are offered for up to Rs700.
Due to the loss of innovation, Pakistan is shedding attainable income. Pakistan exports recent dates to america, Canada, France, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and the UAE, but these comprise handiest 10% of general manufacturing, while many of the dates are dried and exported to India, which is a smart loss.
The scope of price addition and profitability is immense. With somewhat value addition, dates can be utilized to make syrup, juice, paste, vinegar and so forth, the source stated.
“Instead of value addition, Pakistani traders push down the value of their dates by drying them,” he mentioned. Pakistan mainly exports dates to India, which itself is a big producer, however due to immense consumption of dates and coconut in non secular actions, India additionally imports dates from Pakistan. “These days due to tensions between the two countries, India has slapped 200% duty on Pakistani products, which is badly impacting the export of Pakistani dates,” said Sukkur Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Gurdas Wadhwani.
“Dried dates cause a 60% weight and value loss,” stated the SEDF source. Pakistan does no longer have processing gadgets or chilly storages, particularly for dates, so drying them remains the best choice. Dates comprise extra warmth, so they need special chilly storages, however Pakistan does now not have even one such facility.
Pakistan does not have a storage machine because of which date growers can’t save their crop and opt for the second one most suitable choice, which is to dry the dates, and that too is performed in an excessively unhygienic manner, and not thru mechanised dryers. “If you travel to Khairpur, you will see dates lying at the roadside. Due to this unhygienic way of drying, dates carry about 21% aflatoxin, a family of toxins produced by certain fungi on agricultural crops, while internationally only 2.3-7.15% is acceptable,” said the source.
Mechanised dryers aren’t tough to build, he mentioned, adding scholars of Karachi University and IBA have often offered their prototypes, which is able to dehydrate 1,000 to two,000 dates. This can also be taken to an enormous degree if the government or personal sector supports these scholars. Pakistan’s dates sorts are over 50 years outdated, which don’t glance or taste just right, in contrast to the juicy Middle Eastern dates. Even Pakistanis themselves do not favor local dates, because of which the country, regardless of being the 5th greatest manufacturer, imports dates in Ramazan, the supply added.
Pakistan’s first dates dehydration plant and cold garage goes to be constructed soon by means of a private firm in the Khairpur Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The Sindh government is offering opportunities to the businessmen who want to arrange the processing and storage amenities. Date processing crops can preferably be established at the Khairpur SEZ, developed through the district management of Khairpur beneath the supervision of Sindh funding division.