A delegation from European Union and Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development [PITAD] visited some places along the Kinnow mandarin supply chain in the area of Sargodha on 28th January 2015.
The EU delegation was led by Mr Stefano Gatto, DHM and Mr Bernard François, Head of the Cooperation. With them were also Ms Roshan Ara, Dev Advisor and Mr. Tomas Stravinskas, Dev Advisor. Ms Anjum Assad, DG PITAD, which is the focal point of the Trade Related Technical Assistance-TRTA II programme funded by EU, also joined the EU mission. During the one day visit the delegates had direct exposure to the results of three years Technical Assistance-TA provided to the sector by TRTA II.
The first stop was at a progressive farm which has followed the entire path designed by TRTA II international and national experts, jointly with Citrus Research Institute-CRI and University of Agriculture Faisalabad-UAF.
At the orchard the CRI representatives and the owner of the farm recalled the essential good practices gradually introduced in the growing phases: from the control of the irrigation, to the proper utilization of inputs, from the post-harvesting activities, to the biological traps to control fruit fly infestation and usage of instruments such as tensiometer (water requirement) and refractometer (brix and maturity) etc .
CRI pointed out that these innovative practices were introduced and disseminated through periodical sessions of Farmer Field School held at the orchards of the 10 assisted farm clusters.
On the way to the CRI premises, the CRI representatives showed other farms which hadn’t participated in the TA programme but decided to adapt the same good practices after having seen the results in the assisted farms in terms of reduction of costs, improved quality, increased yield and reduced wastages.
At CRI the delegates were briefed on the activities carried out by CRI researchers under TRTA II programme, which culminated in the development of Critical Control Points-CCP/Codes of Practice-CoPs manual and the CRI-TRTA jointly conducted training of 25 experienced Master Trainers who will ensure the sustainable up-scaling of the CoPs to a much larger number of farms.
The delegation moved then to the next step of the supply chain: a modern processing unit and pack house which has received extensive TA from TRTA II including the establishment of linkages with high-end buyers in EU and SEA to have direct visibility of the markets’ requirements and more opportunities to increase the export of this unique produce of Pakistan.
The delegates had the opportunity of seeing the entire process from the arrival of the produce at the pack house to the washing, waxing, grading, packing and finally loading of the boxes into the reefer-container.
After having expressed their appreciation for the results of the TA provided by TRTA for the improvement of the sector supply chain, EUD and PITAD emphasized the importance of up-scaling the intervention through the dissemination of pilot successful business cases and by involving a larger number of farms through the certified batch of Master Trainers. EUD also recommended finding synergies with Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority-TEVTA by evaluating the possibility of having the CCP/CoPs incorporated in their regular curriculum for the skill development programmes. TRTA will approach TEVTA and German Cooperation-GIZ soon for the revision of curriculum based on the developed CCP and CoPs.