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Pakistan eases mango trade via Iran border

By Our Correspondent
June 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday decided to extend opening time of Pakistan-Iran border for export of mangoes to the neighbouring nation and asked Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to discuss and resolve logistic issues with the traders.

The Special Committee of National Assembly on Agricultural Products decided to extend number of days per week and duration for each day for export of mangoes to Iran. Limit on number of trucks coming from Iran is also expanded.

Pakistan-Iran border remains open for three days with a limit on daily duration. The decision was taken in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in March.

The NA body met under a chairmanship of Speaker Asad Qaiser. The meeting was attended by Minister for Planning Asad Umer, Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar, Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is also chairman of Farmers’ Association of Pakistan, and PIA CEO Arshad Malik and others.

Food minister assured the traders no efforts would be spared to increase exports from agriculture sector through close coordination with the stakeholders.

The meeting called for another meeting between mango exporters and PIA on Tuesday (today). The committee on interior affairs was directed to send its recommendations on issues related to export of mangoes to Iran. The committee would send its recommendations to the ministry of interior for further action.

Mango exporters complained of higher freight charges by airlines that account for 90 percent of Pakistan’s mango exports. They previously estimated a 70 percent drop in mango exports from 130,000 tons last year, fetching $90 million.

Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed said an increase in share of PIA in export volume of mangoes would save foreign exchange being paid to foreign carriers as freight charges for mango exports.

PFVA, who participated through video link from Karachi, hoped that barriers to exports would be removed. He said the exporters would try to take mango export to 80,000 metric tons this year.

Mango export to Iran via land route is also badly suffering due to various serious issues, according to the PFVA.

The PFVA said various sectors, including packaging and transportation, are directly related to the trade of fruits and vegetables. Many new investors and businessmen are attracted to the trade of fruits and vegetables after economic difficulties in other occupations due to lockdown. The new investment would create employment, it added.