KARACHI: Federal Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFSR) has increased the fee for issuance of phyto-certificate exorbitantly for the export consignments.

Exporters said that phyto-certificate fee has increased approximately 800 percent and now the exporters are paying Rs. 2,500 to get a phyto-certificate instead of Rs 300 previously. This new fee structure was implemented in Sept. 2020. This is another stiff challenge for exporters and may hurt the export of fruit and vegetables, they added.

This decision of exorbitant increase in fee of the phyto-certificate was taken without any consultation with the All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association (PFVA).

Exporter said that an increase of Rs. 2,200 would further multiply cost of the exports’ consignments making it very difficult to compete in International markets. Waheed Ahmed Patron-in- Chief of PFVA has expressed serious concern and said that while the government is striving hard to enhance exports of fruits & Vegetables, the MNFSR being part of the government has increased fee of phyto-certificate. This step indicates serious discrepancy in desire and action towards it’s fulfillment by the government and it believed that the sincere efforts by the government would not be result oriented. The disproportionate increase in fee is unrealistic and would seriously hit exports by air, he added.

Comparison with other countries showed that the maximum fee of Phyto-certificate in India is USD 1.36 equivalent to PKR 228, USD 0.87 equivalent to PKR 140 in Sri Lanka and USD 0.24 equivalent to PKR 40 in Bangladesh, while some Rs. 2500 are being charged in Pakistan.

Phyto-certificate is required to obtain for each container separately and hence one can well imagine the high resulting cost of one such export’s shipment.

Waheed said that after COVID -19 global pandemic, the export of fruits & vegetables by Air has been encountering great difficulties due to exorbitant increase in cost of Air freight by the Airlines and with such undesirable increase in issuance fee of phyto-certificate. There is possibility of complete discontinuation export of fruits and vegetables by air cannot be ruled out since the cost of phyto-certificate is far much higher than the profit earned on an item, he added.

The PFVA, Federal Government and Ministry of Commerce are jointly striving hard to enhance exports of fruits & vegetables and due to these strenuous efforts, export of fruits & vegetables was enhanced & fetched valuable foreign exchange of USD 730 million by export despite closure of international market and logistic issues in Pakistan during the global pandemic of Covid-19 while all efforts are being made to ensure consistency in exports enhancement this year.

PFVA has appealed the Federal Ministry of National Food Security & Research to re-consider the recent abnormal increase in the issuance fee of phyto-certificate and keeping the national & International situation in view, the fee shall be brought down to a reasonable level, comparable with other countries.