ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has seen a significant increase of 37.4 per cent in the export of agro and food products in the first quarter of the current fiscal year from a year ago amid soaring domestic food inflation.

The surge in food products exports can be primarily attributed to the unprecedented rupee depreciation and the persistent disruptions in the supply chain and higher prices in the international market, which have led to a soaring demand for food products.

On Wednesday, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), a subsidiary organisation of the Ministry of Commerce, released the latest data on the surge in food product exports.

TDAP CEO Zubair Motiwalla expressed his optimism regarding the future of Pakistan’s agro and food product exports. He stated that if the current trends continue, the country’s exports in this sector are projected to surpass $7bn by the end of 2023-24.

According to the TDAP data, major increases were in the export of sesame seed (427pc), maize/corn (109pc), ethyl alcohol (559pc), meat (16pc), rice (14pc), fruits and vegetables (11.8pc), fish and fish products (3pc).

Pakistan exported sesame seed worth $182.2m during July-September 2023-24 as compared to $34m in the corresponding period last year, a growth of 435pc thanks to increased production.

Similarly, the exports of maize were $130m during 1QFY24 as compared to $60.62m in 1QFY23, a growth of 109.32pc. Pakistan’s maize exports have increased manifolds in value, as global prices of food commodities have increased due to the outbreak of Russian-Ukraine war. The major markets for maize are Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea and Oman.

Pakistan exported ethyl alcohol worth $126.81m in 1QFY24 as compared to $19.23m in 1QFY23, indicating a growth of 559.1pc.

Pakistan exported $112.36m worth of meat in 1QFY24 as compared to $96.4m in 1QFY23, showing a growth of 16.54pc. The reason for the increase in meat exports is the introduction of new markets — Jordan, Egypt, and Uzbekistan.

At the same time, several new enterprises are registering to export meat to the UAE, KSA, and the GGC region.

Malaysia also cleared three more slaughterhouses for export/processing. Furthermore, one meat exporting company was granted market access for heat-treated meat shipments to China.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2023

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