KARACHI: Mango exports are expected to reach 150,000 tons this year, up seven percent over the last year despite that the industry is facing adverse climate change and water shortage issues together with COVID-related movement restrictions, an industry official said on Tuesday.
Waheed Ahmed, patron-in-chief of All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) said mango exports would fetch $127.5 million compared to $120 million with 140,000 tons. Ahmed said last year the export target of mangoes was set at 80,000 tons, but extraordinary demand led to an increase in exports. Japan allowed mango imports from Pakistan.
This year Australian authorities approved two mango treatment facilities in Pakistan, Mustafa Farm and IAC.
The PFVA said the government should focus on promising international markets of Russia and China for export of mangoes.
Ahmed said mango exports via sea this year faces stiff challenges due to shortage of reefer containers and high freight cost. Of the total export volume of mangoes, 55 percent is exported by sea, 25 percent by land routes and 20 percent by air. “Pakistan can be included in the list of top three mango exporting countries of the world within a period of 4 - 5 years. It is imperative to focus attention on high value markets such as Japan, US, Australia, South Korea and China,” he said.
Ahmed stressed the need for an extensive research and development to improve quality and cosmetic look to get an easy access to these markets. He said climatic changes are having serious negative impacts on the crops of mangoes for the last five years resulting in shortage of mango production coupled with further addition of two weeks in the harvesting period of the mango crops. Due to these factors, the current mango season is likely to witness a significant drop in production of mangoes.
Production of mangoes in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab is anticipated to be 1.8 million tons. However, due to the effect of the climatic changes, the possibility of reduction in production by 15 percent cannot be ruled out.
A grower from Mirpurkhas, the mango hub of Sindh, said a disease has hit the mango orchards in the division. Farmers were told by the experts to cut such infected flowering and burn out of the orchards, otherwise, it could affect more plants.
Ahmed said, cohesive teamwork, support, cooperation and co-ordination among all stakeholders including Department of Plant Protection, customs, sea and airport authorities are imperative to accomplish the mango export target. There are lockdowns in different regions and countries of the world and flights from Pakistan to many other nations besides Europe and Canada are suspended or restricted.
“Pakistan’s mango exports are feared to decrease, if the situation won’t change,” said Ahmad Jawad, former chairman on horticulture exports committee of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Pakistani mangoes are expected to enter the Chinese market on a large scale this season. Last year, the country held a mango tasting event in Shanghai and the feedback from the Chinese consumers was very positive.