Aiming to tap the very lucrative international markets for fruits, Pakistan, for the first time, is going to import Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT) plant from Japan. With the investment of at least Rs 236 million, the country has almost finalised the procurement process of the plant, which was needed to process fruit especially mango for entering Japanese and other international markets, Business Recorder learnt.
According to sources, all parts and other allied machines for the establishment of VHT facility was expected to reach the country within next 120 days will be installed at proposed Agri Processing Zone land, situated near Karachi city along Super High Way. The new plant will process at least 15,000 kilogram or 15 tones mango daily. Vapour Heat Treatment System uses hot saturated water vapour to heat the fruit slowly, treating possible fruit flies.
The plant, according to sources, was being procured through Trade Development Authority (TDAP) of Pakistan and a representative of the private firm, which has won the bid issued by TDAP was currently in Japan. The same VHT plant, with latest technology, was being used in other countries like Thailand, Philippine and others to process fresh fruits. Though the plant can be used for multipurpose, but it was presently being imported for processing the highly valued mango. The plant, which will facilitate export of fruits and vegetables, especially Mangoes, to Japan and other foreign markets was intended to meet the phyto-sanitary requirements of the importing countries.
According to TDAP’s issued bid in February 2012, the successful bidder would be responsible for commissioning of complete plant; responsible for operation and maintenance for six months; training of local staff; supply of spare parts and ensure the warranty/guarantee for the plant.
The bidders were asked to provide lowest quote for operation and maintenance using the period of 15 years, as the running cost for daily processing of 15 tones of mangoes for a period of 4 months season (120 days), having the net present value using discount rate of 12 percent. The total estimated cost of the plant was Rs 236,170,230.46. It is worth mentioning here that in the absence of required VHT plant, Pakistani mango was not being exported to Japan despite lifting a 16-year-old ban on the import of fruit from Pakistan.
Last year, the government had introduced Mango in Japanese market on experimental basis and limited quantity of mangoes had sent to Japan for promotional purposes as test shipment soon after the foreign government allowed it after processing through a smaller VHT plant provided by Tokyo in 1999.
Japanese ministry of Food and Agriculture had given the permission of mango imports from Pakistan with an attached condition -Vapour Heat Treatment of mangoes. Islamabad had made the older plant operational last year in order to introduce the fruit in foreign markets. However, the bigger and latest one was needed to start the trade on commercial basis. Though the exports of mango, which is called here the king of fruit was expected to be started during ongoing season but the delayed procurement process of the plant kept the foreign market away for another one year/season. However, after the fresh development, the country is expected to be able to export mango to Tokyo a lucrative and potential market.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2012
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