MANGO EXPORT INCREASING 5 PERCENT A YEAR
Export of mango can be doubled provided it is given at least 30 per cent freight subsidy on exports
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
June 30 - July 6, 2003
Pakistan, which has become a mango rich country over the years of experiments and hard labor, produces over one million ton mango of different varieties every year.
As far as the quality was concerned, Pakistan was on top of the list producing finest quality of sweet juicy mangoes popular all over the world.
Earlier, India was competing in the international market however, Pakistan has left India far behind in terms of quality and even quantity of the mango crop, said Mateen Siddiqi, a leading mango exporter who is also the Chairman of Fruits, Vegetable Processors & Exporters Association.
Generally speaking, different varieties of mango are popular in the local market which including Saroli, Langra, Dasehari, Gulab Khas, Ilmas, Tota Pari and Fajri. However, Sindhry from the province of Sindh and Chaunsa from Punjab are the only varieties, which are exported from Pakistan. Out of the total mango crop the province of Punjab produces about 6.5 percent while Sindh contributes about 3.5 per cent.
Currently, Pakistan is exporting about 50,000 tons of mango out of the total crop of one million tons, which comes to 5 per cent of the total produce.
The export of mango from Pakistan seems so nominal against the huge crop of one million ton especially when mango produces in Pakistan was highly popular all over the world.
Explaining the situation, Mateen said that actually the average price of mango at the purchase stage hardly comes to Rs12-15 in the local market, however, it is cost of the freight, which makes all the difference.
As far as the international price of mango was concerned, it begins with 25 cents per kg with the start of the season from May 20. The export of mango prolongs from May 20 to Oct 18 every year and the price starts increasing gradually which goes up to 60 cent in the end of the season.
PIA and other local and foreign airlines are charging Rs75 per kg under the IATA rules, which is one of the major irritants against the export promotion of mango as well as citrus fruits from Pakistan.
It is amazing that the government offers subsidy in transportation on the export of those items, which earn $5 million, or less, hence freight subsidy is available on the exports of fruit and vegetable having total value of export up to $5 million.
While mango and Kinno, which have tremendous export, potentials were denied this export incentive. Mateen was of the view that export of mango can be doubled provided it is given at least 30 per cent freight subsidy on exports.
While suggesting other measures of promotion of fresh fruit from Pakistan, Mateen said that there should be some standards of the packaging material. Elaborating his point of view, Mateen said that some exporters are using wooden crates while others using card and paper crates, which are costly a little bit. However, in order to create identity of Pakistani goods, standardization of packing material was of prime importance besides ensuring of the quality and quantity stated on the crates.
He regretted that there are cases that some of the exporters do not comply with the declared weight subscribed on the crates. Mostly, mangoes are exported in 2, 3 or 4 kg crates. At the customs level, there should be a pre-export inspection to ensure about the quality and quantity of the goods so that the credibility of the exporting country could be ensured. This would also help discouraging the unscrupulous elements in the export business. He also regretted that countries like Germany, France and the United Kingdom are importing mangoes from Pakistan while some brotherly Islamic countries have put a ban on import of mango from Pakistan. Those countries which have put an embargo on import of mango from Pakistan including Iran, Turkey USA, Japan, Korea, and South Africa.
Although the countries in the European Union are highly choosy buyers but they all are fond of Pakistani mangoes and do not raise any objection on the basis of health conditions of mangoes from Pakistan. However, countries like Iran or Turkey has put an embargo, which appears very strange especially when they claim to brotherly countries.
Free trade with India, which has a great market for Pakistani pomegranates, dates and dry dates (Chhohara), is likely to start in near future.
He appreciated the coordination provided by the national airline which is providing cargo space especially for mango, however, they are insufficient handling facilities some times prove costly and the shipment being perishable in nature goes waste whenever timely handling was not made. Besides, PIA, Saudia, Emirates, Lufthansa, Swiss airlines are also lifting considerable amount of cargo from Pakistan. The volume of exports of fresh fruits and vegetable could be enhanced to a great extent if the embargo put by Iran, Turkey, USA and Japan was lifted. The export promotion bureau is doing some in this resect and the treatment plant has already started working at the quarantine. However, it would require two years of sampling for release disease free certificate under the rules.