Karachi, July 21, 2020: Ismail Suttar, President of Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP), the Apex Body of Manufacturers of Pakistan, has demanded the government to resume exports of dry dates to India after the successful opening of Wagah Border under the Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement, which allows transit trade for Afghanistan to India. With this positive development, it is time to look towards the resumption of dry dates exports to India.
In a statement, EFP president said that Pakistan is one of the top countries growing fresh dates and holds the fifth position in global dates production. Over the years, India became the top importer of dry dates that earned Pakistan $92 million of valuable exports earning in 2018. An astounding 95.6 percent of dry dates exports were directed towards India just two years back. However, bilateral trade with India has worsened, which has adversely affected the livelihood of farmers, exporters, and related employees.
“The situation in Balochistan & Khairpur is particularly dire because this region contributes 92 percent of the total dates production of the country and 50 percent dates are cultivated in Balochistan & 42 percent in Khairpur. The absence of the Indian market is threatening the optimal use of dry dates for trade purposes”, he opined.
EFP president further said that the harvesting season for dates falls between July to September. Therefore, the necessity of relevant national policy and interventions are deeply felt to ensure that Pakistan does not lose out on potential export earnings, which can positively impact the current account deficit and support hardworking farmers and exporters. The global disruption caused by COVID-19 has already pushed the local economy to a downward spiral.
Ismail Suttar demanded the government to resume exports of dry dates to India, said that to counter the recessionary pressure of the ongoing pandemic, one of the initiatives by the government should be to export dry dates to India that will provide employment and earning opportunities to the local population.