Despite unwelcomed early April showers in Sindh, the
second top mango producing province of the country, the export volume of
the delectable signature Pakistani fruit is expected to surpass the
comparative figure last year.
However, Pakistani mangoes are facing fierce
competition from their Thai and Indian counterparts in the major markets
in the Far East including Malaysia and Singapore. In addition, the
unofficial export of the fruit to such neighbouring countries as Iran
and Afghanistan is depriving the exchequers and legal exporters
substantial monies in revenue and earnings respectively.
Chairman of Fruits Vegetables Processors and
Exporters Association Mateen Siddiqui told PAGE that a good mango
crop this year is expected to result in increased exports surpassing
47,000 tonnes last year. "The value of the 47,000 tonnes mangoes
exported last year totaled $ 21 FoB and the exports are expected to
increase this year despite fierce competition from Thailand and Indian
in major markets of Far East, particularly Malaysia and Singapore.
"Pakistani mangoes are facing stiff competition
from low-priced Thai counterparts and good quality Indian counterparts
in these two major Far Eastern markets which took time to develop over
the years. There are no signs of demand of the fruit in these two
markets yet despite the beginning of the export season here in
Mateen told PAGE that unexpected showers in
late March/early April in Sindh, which contributes 30 per cent to the
total mango production in the country, was more qualitative than
quantitative. "Though the showers caused substantial damage to the
fruit-bearing flowers the loss has more or less has been neutralized
because the flowers left intact by the rains helped the fruit to gain
better weightage. However, the damage to the mango crop in Sindh was
more qualitative than quantitative: Sindh produces about 30 per cent of
the fruit its share in total exports is much greater — about 40 per
cent due primary to premium-priced Sindhri variety particularly in the
upmarket of UK and other European countries."
PAGE was informed that the prices of mango to UK
has remained stable over last year fetching between Pound Sterling
2.50-2.60 per the standard 2 kilogram box. "The PIA will be
starting dedicated freighter services twice weekly from Lahore to London
next month and will be charging Rs 72 per kilogram at par with many
other foreign airlines which would be lifting the fruits. The freight
rates for Scandinavian countries is the most costly at Rs 80-85 per
kilogram while that for the destinations in the Far East is around Rs 39
per kilogram — the last yet to have depict signs of demand due primary
to competition from lower-priced Thai and quality Indian
Though Dubai is the single biggest destination of
Pakistani mangoes taking about three-fourth of the total exports to UK
and other European countries collectively importing among themselves
about 7 per cent of the fruit. Dubai, on the other hand, still remains
the primary market of Pakistani mangoes, like many other fresh fruits
and vegetables, serving more as a dumping ground lifting the fruit as
per the demand in turn to have a direct impact on the prices of the
fruit here in the country.
Mateen was much critical of the 'memo' floated by the
Export Promotion Bureau to the exporters advising them not to ship the
fruits before May 20 because premature fruit undermines the image of the
fruit in the international markets. "It was premature as it only an
advice and not a directive but also because the EBP has no jurisdiction
about legally implementing it because the issue falls under the purview
of ministry of commerce and trade."
PRODUCTION, EXPORT & PRICES
Mango is the second top foreign exchange earner in
the fresh fruit variety after citrus fruit 'Kinnow.' It's production and
export trend shows an unmatched potential: 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 and around 1 million
tonne today. Mango exports have steadily increase both in terms of
quantity and value from 14,830 tonnes in 1993-94 to 47,602 tonnes in
1999-2000 dropping to 42,000 tonnes in 2001 and rising again to 47,000
tonnes last year .
In term of value mango exports have depicted a more
stronger performance. In 1993-94 mango exports fetched $ 2.92 million
which increased to $ 6.775 million in 1999 and $ 11.563 million in 2000
and $ 21 million FoB last year.
He said that despite a good crop increasing
production costs including prices of fertlizer, pesticides, labour,
transport, etc., is feared to push prices of mango in the local market.
Mateen expressed concerns about the smuggling of the
fruit to such neighbouring countries as Iran and Afghanistan which has
risen to alarming levels during last two years. "There is an
alarming increase in the volume of smuggling of mangoes to these
countries in last two years though the unscrupulous activity might had
been continuing all along. What is even more alarming is the fact that
the nefarious activity is now conducted as a barter between the
unscrupulous elements — bartering mangoes for petrol, household
products and much more. Though it's not possible for me to give you the
loss the nefarious trade is causing to the exchequers according to an
estimate between 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes of mangoes are finding their
ways out of the country illegally."
The question is what can be done to stop the
smuggling to cut the losses to the exchequers?