The Kinnow industry in Pakistan, which plays a significant role in the country’s income and job opportunities, is facing a crisis. Industry officials predict a 50 percent drop in citrus fruit exports this year due to quality issues. The current variety of Kinnow, introduced six decades ago, has become more vulnerable to diseases and climate changes, resulting in lower yields and compromised quality.
The All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association warns that the usual five-month season has now shrunk to only 1.5 months. Half of the processing plants have closed down, posing a threat to the substantial investments and livelihoods of around 400,000 people.
Waheed Ahmed, the patron-in-chief of the association, is concerned that if this situation continues, Kinnow exports from Pakistan might stop within the next two years. Despite earning $220 million from exporting 450,000 tonnes of Kinnow in the past, this year’s volume is expected to be limited to 150,000 – 250,000 tonnes, generating only $100 million in revenue. Ahmed stressed the urgent need for new Kinnow varieties, as the current one has surpassed its lifespan, putting Pakistan’s position in citrus fruit exports at risk.
Ahmed urged the government to prioritize the development of new Kinnow varieties to avoid a crisis that could affect millions of jobs and billions in foreign exchange. He highlighted the decline in Kinnow quality, leading to rejected export shipments and financial losses for exporters and importers.