FAO in Pakistan

Creating Linkages for Improved Production & Marketing of Fruits & Vegetables


Peshawar (20/02/2024): The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), under USAID-funded project: "Food Security and Livelihood Improvement Activity," is revolutionizing the production and marketing of key value chains in the merged districts including Khyber, Mohmand, and Bajaur of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The project has successfully forged strong partnerships between local producers in these districts and Peshawar-based traders and exporters. The project is paving the way to export locally grown vegetables including tomatoes, bitter gourds, bottle gourds, chillies, and peas, to the Middle East, UAE and other countries, maximizing profit margins for producers.
Recent achievement includes the export of locally grown peas, branded as "Khyber Watani Matar”, to the UAE. Besides, pre-contract meetings for bitter gourds and bottle gourds are scheduled in Mohmand and Khyber in current month.
A meeting was also held in FAO office in Peshawar with local exporters, in particular with Qazffai Traders and Sunny International, which besides others, was attended by the Additional Secretary Agriculture KP, Mr Muhammad Tahir, FAO Head of Office in KP, Mr Farrukh Toirov, and Cargo Manager from Peshawar Airport, Mr Kaleem Ullah.
In the meeting, the issues of exporters were noted down, especially the deterioration of perishable commodities during airlifting to Dubai and other Gulf countries. The Additional Secretary of Agriculture and Peshawar Airport Cargo authorities assured the local producers and exporters that they would do their best to resolve their key problems.  
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and explore opportunities and improve the cold storage and chilling system at the Cargo Terminal of the Peshawar Airport for the export of fresh fruits and vegetables. Mr Farrukh Toirov mentioned that the involvement of the government and Private sector engaged in vegetables' export is a fundamental step for local economic growth. Different options were elaborated regarding the quality maintenance at the airport.
The airport cargo staff reiterated that quick scanning and loading of the perishable produce would be ensured to minimize export losses and for that empty containers would be kept inside the shade in the cargo area to lower the temperature rate before placing the vegetables in the planes.
The exporters suggested that the scanning machines’ quality needed to be improved so that the corrugated cardboard boxes would not be affected due to the said process. Cold storage and cold chain vehicles/reefers will be installed to ensure the freshness of the vegetables. This aspect will also be discussed with different resource partners for funding.
The Additional Secretary Agriculture also assured the exporters about his continued support and asked about data on the KP-based vegetable export, the volume of export from KP and the identification of specific vegetables having a comparative edge to other exportable commodities from the neighboring countries. The exporters provided concrete recommendations regarding the future roadmap to improve the export.
FAO will continue working with the government and businesses to materialize the full capacity of the KP province in producing high-value vegetables and fruits of export quality.