Multan: Punjab government is spending millions of rupees annually on research on citrus fruits across the province, an agriculture official has said. Agriculture Department Assistant Director Abdus Samad said the research is being promoted because Pakistan is one of the largest citrus-producing countries and the seventh biggest exporter of fruit in the world. The country earns nearly $180 million annually from export of citrus fruits. The official said there was ample scope for increasing the production of citrus fruits in the country and Punjab government was spending substantial amounts on research to promote the production of quality fruits. Last year, 395,000 tonnes of orange were exported, which was 17.37% of the total production of the country, he remarked. During the ongoing season, production of 2.276 million tonnes is expected. Punjab produces 95 of the oranges grown in the country. The agriculture official urged farmers to sort the best citrus fruits. He said the fruits should be marketed in line with the grading rules in order to fetch high returns. Abdus Samad said orchard owners marketed their produce in baskets that affected their income and also created problems during export. He said the growers could increase their income by adopting better marketing techniques. Citrus fruits should be picked at a time when they have over 33% juice, the official pointed out.