Mango exports have exceeded 100,000 tons after almost eight years.
Ahmad Jawad, former chairman of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s standing committee on horticulture exports, said that mango exports are expected to reach around 120,000 tons before the season ends this month. The country had achieved the 100,000-ton mark back in 2011/12. The latest exports do not include unofficial trade with Iran and Afghanistan, he added.
The volume still accounts for less than seven percent of the total production. There are many other issues which hinders Pakistan in exporting more than 5-7% of the total mango production. One of the main problems is of the cold storage of the fruit.
Mangoes are mostly exported to the Middle East, while the Pakistani fruit is consumed by people of South Asian origin in western countries, he said.
Mango exports had been facing a drop due to ‘strict’ phytosanitary conditions imposed by the European Union on fruit fly problem. Pakistan is unable to introduce its mangoes in many parts of the western countries. “We need to control pests to improve competitiveness,” he added.
Jawad said that entomologists have asked to increase the cultivation area of mangoes and 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.
He emphasized on stop 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 that a 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 favor 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.” he said.