Pakistan approaches Russia


Though the door to Pakistani agricultural products has been closed to Russia since October 1, 2013, following a fresh restrictions imposed by Moscow for not meeting Phytosanitary requirements of the country, Pakistan has finally raised the issue with Moscow.

In a meeting held with stakeholders on Thursday in Islamabad, the ministry of national food security and research has decided to re-approach Russia’s federal service for veterinary and Phytosanitary surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), the concerned authority in the foreign country, for lifting the ban which has blocked almost $150-170 million worth market of agricultural products for Pakistan.

The meeting chaired by Sikandar Hyat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, was also attended by its Secretary Seerat Asghar Jaura, Additional Secretary Iftekhar Ahmed Rao and leading exporters/members of the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) led by its chairman Abdul Malik.

Fearing that Pakistan may lose important market for Kinnow during the fast approaching season, the ministry has decided to send another letter to the Russian Quarantine department requesting for lifting temporary restriction. The ministry in its earlier letter sent on October 1 had already requested to the foreign country for lifting the ban assuring it to take necessary steps to comply with all Phytosanitary requirements.

However, the Russian department in a fresh letter (reply) sent on October 22, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today has shown dissatisfaction over the existing quarantine and control of high pest risks system here. It says “the state authorities who make a decision about the possibility of the release of goods from the territory of Pakistan do not authenticate Phytosanitary certificates issued for products supplied to other countries including the Russian Federation, which casts doubts on the overall effectiveness of Pakistani state Phytosanitary control system.”

According to the letter, the information about the unfavorable temperatures in Delhapur and Chinota for golden potato cyst nematode Globodera Rostocheiensis (Woll) Behrens) can not be taken for the basis because the pest can develop in the South countries with hot climate and in Northern countries such as Poland and Finland, also follows that the golden potato cyst nematode can develop in all areas of cultivation of potato affecting not only the potato but also tomato and other solamanaceous.

It further says: “We consider conducting an examination of ground areas in the region where the lots of contaminated potato were cultivated for the presence of cryst in the soil that keeps viability of the pest during the years. With regard to often usage of seed by Russian civilians of import were potatoes and also potatoes from Pakistan, we request to provide the information about zones that are free from the said golden potato and the measures that are being taken to maintain the status and also about the plant protection works of Pakistan.”

The Russian side has linked the abolition of fresh restrictions with complete information from the ministry of national food security and research, Pakistan, about the country’s system of state quarantine Phytosanitary control. The information, according to the letter, should be included establishment of Phytosanitary condition of the production exported in Russian federation, the system of inspection and certification of a consignment prepared to ship in Russia, the immutability of production and its Phytosanitary status till the movement of export from Pakistan as well as restrictive measures applicable to manufacturers and exporters who violate the requirements of the Russian legislation.

In reply to this letter, the sources said, the ministry here decided to invite the Russian experts to inspect the facilities and ground areas. The ministry would be sending immediate reply to the fresh letter besides taking others measure to lift the restriction which is feared to cause almost 50 percent decline in the country’s exports of agro-based products. The country’s 35 to 40 percent of Kinnow and 40 to 50 percent potato exports are normally exported to Russia.

According to Waheed Ahmed, spokesman and former chairman of PFVA, the exporters of Kinnow would face huge losses if the restrictions are not lifted immediately as the Kinnow season is only 25 days away. “We have already made required investments and preparation for the fruit’s export during the fast approaching season,” he added. Any delay and negligence on the part of ministry and Pakistani embassy in Russia in the process of lifting the restriction would cause huge losses to the industry affecting thousands of people associated with this sector.


  1. Why can’t they look for other market then Russia.let common people of Pakistan enjoy fresh and quality food.

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