National Spice Summit 2023: National Foods Limited leads the way for Red Chili Ecosystem Development

    National Foods Limited, a leader in the food industry, hosted the National Spice Summit 2023 in December in Karachi. This successful event brought together key stakeholders and red chili value chain players for a day of insightful round-table discussions. 

    In response to the dynamic shifts in the regulatory landscape of export markets and the challenges posed by inconsistent and stringent Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs), a compelling call for collective action has emerged to enhance the quality of red chilies fit for export. The primary objective of the summit was to foster collaboration and engagement among industry experts to understand challenges and share innovative ideas for the development of the red chili ecosystem. Drawing inspiration from the success of the “Seed to Table” project, which aimed to fortify the tomato value chain, National Foods Limited is now at the forefront of leading initiatives to strengthen and develop the red chili value chain. National Foods Limited has outlined plans to cultivate red chili to meet its internal requirements initially. The company aims to scale up the project over the next few years, to make substantial contributions to the export market. 

    “The National Spice Summit 2023 reflects our commitment to taking a multi-stakeholder approach to strengthening localization and enhancing the quality of red chili in Pakistan which will unlock access to export markets. As we embark on this journey, we will prioritize the well-being of our farmers, beneficiaries, and key stakeholders,” stated Abrar Hasan, CEO of National Foods Limited. 

    The summit witnessed the active participation of esteemed stakeholders, including the Ministry of Commerce, USDA (Winrock International), Corteva Agrisciences, Engro Corp, HBL, and LTEC International Agriculture Development Company. Their diverse expertise enriched the discussions, providing a comprehensive view of the challenges and opportunities within the Red Chili value chain. 

    The participants were of the view that addressing this gap is crucial for Pakistan to capitalize on the potential of red chili exports fully. “By enhancing the quality of locally grown red chilies, Pakistan can seize the opportunity to become a significant player in the global red chili market of approx. USD 1.4 billion,” they added. 

    Currently, the country produces approximately 144,000 tons of red chilies annually, with this figure steadily increasing each year. Only around 10% of this locally grown red chili quantity is exported while the rest is consumed domestically. Furthermore, there is a need to import around 20,000 tons of red chili per year to meet specific industry requirements, by developing this ecosystem not only can we omit our reliance on these imports but produce red chilies suitable for the export market.

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