KARACHI: All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) has opposed the proposed ban on export of tomato and onion.

They said it seems that the ministry of commerce officials have been misinformed in this regard.

In a letter sent by PFVA to Advisor to Prime Minister on commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, the PFVA said despite being an important stakeholder it was not involved in the initial stage to get its input on the matter. PFVA is kept away from the “consultative process” on such an important decision-making process by the federal government. The input from PFVA can always assist in making realistic decisions on such national issues and the growers, as well as, exporters can be kept motivated and in high esteem for attainment of exports target of the country, the letter said.

PFVA mentioned that quality and other specifications of Pakistani tomato do not conform to the demand of the international market and Pakistan just manages to produce tomatoes to take care of its domestic consumption and sometimes the country had imported the same to meet the local demands.

It urged the government to obtain the export and import data of tomato from the customs prior to mulling a ban of export of tomato. The association mentioned that due to insufficient production of tomato, the value-added units for manufacturing tomato paste cannot achieve the target of exporting value-added product.

It said last year there was sharp escalation in onion prices due to imbalance in demand and supply and shortage in the domestic market.

The growers of Sindh started harvesting of premature onion to take advantage of high price and onion exported during this time being poor quality created a “bad impression” in the international markets. However, the PFVA took a timely initiative and suspended export of onion for 15 days. This decision helped to reduce the price in the domestic market and improve quality.

“This year the gap of harvesting onion in Sindh and Balochistan is quite narrow and we have a strong healthy bumper crop and thus the supply is expected to far exceed demand leading to stabilization in price of onion in the local market and ensuring good quality be available for export,” the association mentioned.

The harvesting of onion is the province of Sindh has already started a couple of days back, while full swing of onion production is expected in the next 15 days.

The representative body has strongly anticipated that in view of the current situations the likely ban on export of onion would be reconsidered in the larger interest of the country, as well as, growers.

PFVA said that a ban on exporting tomato and onion would create an alarming situation for the growers, as well as, for the country. The growers may be unable to get reasonable prices for their crops and will not grow onions next year or may switch over to some other crops, which would lead to shortage of onions in future. In case of a shortage of onion, the country will be compelled to import onion by spending valuable foreign exchange to cater the needs of local consumers, it mentioned.