KARACHI: Pakistan shipped on Monday the first consignment of vegetables to Dubai via sea route. The first-ever consignment of nine vegetables, including tomato, brinjal, cucumber, carrot, okra, long melon etc, was sent under the Agricultural Market Development (AMD) project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The seven-tonne consignment will reach Dubai in four days. It was grown, processed and packed under the supervision of experts from AMD-USAID at a pack house in Gharo, Sindh. The process was monitored by former director general of plant protection Dr Mubarak Ahmed and Dr Waqar Ahmed of AMD-USAID.
Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed said the freight service via sea will not only reduce the cost of the project but also enable exporters to tap the Gulf markets. He said vegetables are being air-shipped at the cost of Rs80 per kilogram while sea freight will cost only Rs5 per kg. India has already been using sea route for the export of highly competitive fresh products to the Middle Eastern markets. If the experiment succeeds, Pakistan will also be able to compete in the market of vegetable and horticulture products, he said.Dr Mubarak Ahmed said the processing and packaging as per the shipment requirements via sea route have become a common practice worldwide for being cost effective. This way Pakistan can boost its export of fresh vegetable and fruit, he added. AMD Project Chief of Party Peter Dickrell said five exporters of Pakistan will receive the consignment in Dubai and display vegetables at the upcoming Gulf Food Festival.