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September 17, 2019

Mango exports rebound to eight-year high

Business

September 17, 2019

KARACHI: Mango exports have exceeded the 100,000 tons mark after eight years, but the volume still accounts for less than seven percent of the total production, an industry official said on Monday.

Ahmad Jawad, former chairman of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s standing committee on horticulture exports said mango exports are expected to reach around 120,000 tons before the season ends this month. Last year, mango exports stood at 80,000 tons. The country achieved the 100,000 tons mark in 2011/12. The latest exports did not include unofficial trade with Iran and Afghanistan, he added.

“Mango doesn’t face only the cold storage problem, but it also faces a plethora of other issues due to which Pakistan does not export more than 5 to 7 percent of the total mango production,” Jawad said in a statement.

Jawad said mangoes are mostly exported to Middle East, while the Pakistani fruit is consumed by people of south Asian origin in western countries.

The industry official said mango exports had been facing drop due to ‘strict’ phytosanitary conditions by European Union on fruit fly problem. The country could not introduce its mangoes in many parts of the western countries. “We need to control pests to improve competitiveness,” he added.

Jawad said entomologists stressed the need for increasing the area under cultivation. There is a need to introduce commercial varieties. There is a gap between production of Sindhri and Chaunsa varieties. “Due to this, there is a break in export of the two varieties, which is filled by India’s Alphonso mango.”

The industry official underscored a need to improve the flood irrigation system in mango orchards and switch to drip irrigation. “This will save water and improve the yield and quality of the fruit.”

The official said new mango belt starting from Bhimber to Mirpur (Kashmir) right down to Gujrat and Sialkot is getting famous for its variety of desi mango. “This variety is mainly used for local value addition (like pickle), but should be marketed globally as an organic variety,” he added.

“Both topography and sociology favour the fruit as most of the youth from this region resides outside Pakistan and the older ones take care of trees and organically maintain the orchards.”

Jawad said the country needs to improve ease of doing business. Middle Eastern airlines’ fares for cargo shipments are up to 20 percent higher for Pakistani exporters compared with their Indian counterparts.

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