IMF says bailout program to get Pakistan out of boom and bust cycle

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - KARACHI: A Pakistani fresh produce company on Saturday announced it would invest $1.6 million to set up a new chain of retail stores in the country and abroad, selling local and imported fruits and vegetables, and related products, with plans to expand operations to the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UK.
Iftekhar Ahmed and Company (IAC), one of Pakistan’s leading exporters of fruits and vegetables introduced the brand called “Go4Fresh,” at its first flagship store in Karachi. IAC has reported a turnover of over $22 million, according to company officials. Arab News was unable to independently verify the figure. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables at go4fresh, a high quality fresh produce retain brand that opened its doors in Karachi on Dec. 21, 2019. (AN Photo)

 “We have established a new brand...which will be available both in domestic and foreign markets. Go4Fresh is a chain of retail stores that will expand to other cities after Karachi, and then to , Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UK,” Waheed Ahmed, Director for Marketing at IAC, told Arab News. 

“Go4fresh...will benefit both consumers and farmers in Pakistan,” he said and added that local and imported fruits with value-added, like smoothies, fresh milk, organic ice-cream, fresh juices, dried fruits, and vegetables would be available at the chain stores.

Ahmed said the company has already begun exporting some of the products to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar, but the first official go4fresh store would be set up in Dubai in 2021. 
“The company is also planning to export fresh and value-added products to an additional 30 countries in the second phase,” Ahmed said.

Pakistan exported $438 million worth of fruits and $416 million worth of vegetables during the last fiscal year, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

Exporters say the introduction of new brands with value-added products, will help the country generate additional export revenues.

“Pakistan needs new brands and presence in foreign markets. We are already exporting to various countries but exporting value-added products from Pakistan, will be able to fetch a better price,” Abdul Malik, Chairman of All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association ( PFVA) told Arab News.

Exporters say with the increasing share of the agriculture sector in the country’s overall exports, the farmers, investors, and retailers are expected to benefit and will be encouraged to focus on premium quality agricultural products.

“The premium quality... which we also call ‘fancy’ quality... and which is available in superstores in other countries will be available in the country (Pakistan). Besides, it will create job opportunities in the country’s agriculture and allied sectors,” Malik added.

Pakistan’s exporters have set a $6 billion annual target of fruit and vegetable exports under “Horticulture Vision 2030,” which provides a road map to organize and modernize the agriculture sector from farms to the retail sector.

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