prospects for mango exports
Higher prices in the domestic market is expected
By SYED M. ASLAM
Apr 30 - May 06, 2001
First, the good news: A bad crop would not deter
mango exports to break all previous records in terms of both quantity
and value. Now the bad news: the price of the expected exports
performance would be paid, in part, by the mango loving populace which
would have to pay a premium price to sink its teeth into the
Exporters and officials of Export Promotion Bureau
agree that decline in mango production this season resulting in
unaffordable prices would discourage domestic consumption thus leaving
record exports in terms of quantity. The value-wise increase would
easily follow as the international prices of mango has risen to $378
per metric tonne depicting over 55 per cent increase over $243 per
tonnes last season.
Chairman of Fruits, Vegetables Processors &
Exporters Association, Mateen Siddiqui, told PAGE that like all other
crops mango crop is also affected by the severe water shortage,
particularly in Sindh and generally in Punjab. This poses many
challenges for Sindh which contributes 30 per cent to the total mango
production but whose share in total mago exports in terms of value is
40 per cent due to a deeper penetration of its Sindhri variety in the
premium UK market.
He declined to provide the exact amount of the
feared loss saying only that will be substantial. The damage to the
mango crop will be more qualitative than quantitative. For instance,
it would result in comparatively smaller fruit size which is an
indirect loss in weight. It may also result in decreasing the sucrose
content of the fruit thus rendering it less than usually sweet. And
most of all, it may result in thinner skin to make it much less
resistant to treatment process, at least to the quality conscious but
premium priced market of UK and other European countries, which can
result in shrinking the shelf life.
With the mango crop in the final phase of maturing
in Sindh and an extra month in Punjab the situation remains much
uncertain. While it is still too early to make a calculated guess
about the feared shortfall in production, Mateen said the shortfall
would result in a 100 per cent increase in the prices of mango in the
domestic market over the last year.
But production decline will not be the only reason
for the unaffordable increase in the prices of mango in the domestic
market. According to Mateen the persistent water crisis has
discouraged investors who previously used to book the produce of a
orchard or number of orchards on cash advances as they felt that the
practice may not be profitable this year. This, in turn, has resulted
in increased number of growers, who now deprived of the traditional
arrangement, would have to sell their mango crops themselves. This
would mean that these growers would now be in a position to sell their
fruits wherever they are offered the best prices. The new vegetables
and fruits market in Karachi has allocated a 10 acre area for the
fruit growers exclusively and one can see that mango farmers this year
would be able to dictate the prices as and how they will please and
that too strictly on cash.
Mateen said that only the big fruit exporters who
have huge cash reserves would be able to benefit from the situation
while the small and medium fruits exporters, who previously were able
to secure mangoes on credit, would be the real sufferers. He expressed
concerns that many small and medium exporters deprived of the credit
facility not be able to lift the mangoes from the market to export the
fruit this year.
Quantity & quality
The production and exports of mangoes have shown an
unmatched potential over the years to make the second top foreign
exchange earner after citrus fruit Kino. Except for a marginal
decrease in 1998-99, mango production has steadily risen from 776,000
tonnes in 1990-91 to over 927,000 in 1999-2000. Mango exports have
registered a similarly steadily increase both in terms of quantity and
value. In last seven years mango exports have registered over 220 per
cent increase in term of quantity — from 14,830 tonnes in 1993-94 to
47,602 tonnes in 1999-2000. In 1999-2000 the quantity-wise exports
registered over 23 per cent increase over the previous year.
In term of value mango exports have depicted a much
stronger performance. In 1993-94 mango exports fetched $ 2.92 million
which increased to $ 11.563 million last year — a four-fold
increase. In 1999-2000 alone mango exports depicted 70 per cent
increase to $ 11.563 million from $ 6.775 million in the previous
year. A marvellous performance indeed.
The international prices of mango is also on the
continuous rise — from $ 178 per tonne in 1998-99 to $ 243 per tonne
in 1999-2000 and all time high of $ 378 per tonne currently.
Dubai is the biggest market of Pakistani mangoes.
Of the 47,602 tonnes of mangoes exported in 1999-2000 , 36,000 tonnes
went to Dubai, 2,800 tonnes to the UK, and 2,400 to tonnes Saudi
Arabia. However, gradually mango exports are going through an
otherwise undetectable diversification. UK has emerged as the quality
conscious premium market of Pakistani mangoes.
While Dubai remains the top market of Pakistani
mangoes it serves more as a dumping ground for the best known
Pakistani fruit. Observers say that in spite of the successful
penetration of the UK market much remains to be done to explore the
real potential of the UK market which pays better price to a
comparatively inferior quality Indian mangoes.
In spite of breakthroughs in premium market like
the UK, mango exports have yet to make an inroads in such big markets
as Hong Kong which imports $ 40 million of mangoes every year.
Similarly, penetration of the Japanese market is also a must as Japan
imports some 8,000 tonnes of mango annually. With record quantity
available for exports this makes all the more sense.