Corrective approach needed on mango export

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Pakistani mangoes are treated as the best fruit in most of the states in terms of taste and variety. In principle, the export of this fruit to the world should have been on the constant rise, but the situation is entirely different as export of this fruit is not portraying a progressive picture. The reduced production of mango due to the multiple factors like climatic changes as well as conventional post-harvest technology in the country are considered the most potential reasons behind the low volume of mango exports. This year the mango production is likely to stand around 1.2 million tons against the production of 1.7 million tons recorded during the previous season. This is also notable that Pakistan, which is going to start exporting mangoes from May 25, is likely to remain shut out of the lucrative US and Japanese markets. However, it creates multiple concerns that despite initiatives taken to introduce Pakistani mangoes in US and Japanese markets, export of the fruit to these countries remain unlikely this year mainly due to the lack of a well-equipped fruit treatment facility in the country. Japan last year had approved the mangoes tested through a small VHT facility in the country; but it is not viable to use the same facility for commercial purposes because of its limited functionality and capacity. Beside the two important foreign markets, the country is also losing the market in Iran because of sanctions imposed by the US, as commercial banks are reluctant to be involved in financial transactions in this regard. At present there are 25 fruit processing plants, mainly in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, the processing capacity is currently estimated at about 15,000 tons. A proposal for the setting up of a commercial processing plant and a common facility centre has already been sent to the Ministry of Commerce, but the ministry has yet to take a step in this regard. Post-management operation, including the classification of fruit, cleaning, drying, waxing, grading, packaging procedures, indoor processing machinery manufacturers will go to processing plants to focus on post-processing of the fruit. In order to enhance the mango export, the government also needs to declare and develop Multan as Mango Export Zone besides allocation of 25,000 per acre of plantation and nature of crop, may be provided for a period of five years. Packaging facility and tax holiday for value-added processing and exports should be provided which would ultimately contribute towards enhancing the mango exports. The mango export still remains a potential sector that immediately needs a corrective approach on the part of the government if mango, the king of fruits, is to dominate the world markets.


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