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May 18, 2018

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Mango output feared to fall 35pc; higher exports expected

KARACHI: Mango production is feared to fall 35 percent short of 1.8 million tons annual target as long winter and blights affected the area under cultivation; although a 19 percent jump in exports is expected on new shipments to China and Europe, industry officials said on Thursday.

Waheed Ahmed, patron-in-chief of Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Association (PFVA) said low production is expected due to acute water shortage and global warming.

Climate changes and global warming are posing threats to the production of mango and due to its negative impact overall production of mango has been lower than the last year.

“Mango orchards in Sindh, including Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar and Mirpur Khas would severely be affected,” Ahmed said.

“The same goes to Punjab where overall production of mango is anticipated to decline 30 to 50 percent in mango-growing areas, including Muzzafar Garh, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan and Shujabad.”

PFVA chief said smaller size of mango is also of great concern to the exporters. “Due to increase in demand and shortage of supply this year, the wholesale price of mango is expected to increase to Rs3,000/40 kilogram from Rs2,400/kg.”

He said there was relatively longer winter season in different mango growing areas, while new diseases also affected the fruits.

Exporters, however, set 100,000 tons of exports target for the current season. Exports are starting from coming Sunday as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s route would be used for the first time to export mango to China.

Last year, 81,000 tons were exported against the target of 100,000 tons due to a 50 percent reduction in production. Foreign exchange of $95-100 million would be generated by attaining the export target of 100,000 tons.

Pakistani mango is popular worldwide. Its exports are expected to increase on growing demand in Ramazan and rupee depreciation. Gulf countries, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arab and European countries would be major buyers of Pakistani mangoes.

“However, queries in abundance from Chinese buyers are pouring in, expressing keen interest for import of Pakistani mangoes,” Ahmed said.

“It would be first time that Pakistani mango would be exported to China through CPEC route and around 500-2,000 tons are anticipated to be exported to China.”

The industry official said China can emerge as a big market for Pakistani mangos and “once it’s fully developed 20,000 tons of mangoes could conveniently be exported”. Mango promotions in China, Maldives, and European countries would be held during this year to further enhance exports. Iran is also an important buyer. However, the exporters are not expecting good returns on exports due to unprecedented devaluation of Iranian currency.

The 18th amendment could not yield desired results in improving agriculture sector due to lack of coordination among the provinces, Ahmed, who is also vice president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said.

“In order to attain export target, it’s vital to maintain political stability and good law and order in the country while cooperation and support from airlines, shipping companies, customs and department of plant protection is also imperative,” he added.

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