The country is likely to achieve its target of 0.1 million metric tons by the end of September

KHALID BUTT, Bureau Chief, Lahore
July 24 - 30, 2006

Pakistan is expected to export 0.1 million metric tons (MT) of mangoes in the current year to earn 30 million US dollars in foreign exchange, according to experts. Pakistan has emerged in few years as one of the largest mango exporting countries. It has the distinction of having the longest mango season and the country successfully diversified production of fruits especially the mango belt around Multan, Muzzafargarh, Bahawalpur, Sargodha and around Hyderabad and Mirpur in Sindh.

According to sources Pakistan had already exported over 60,000 metric tons of mangoes by mid-July and is likely to achieve its target of 0.1 million metric tons by the end of September. Compared to some other countries like India, Pakistan has a prolonged mango season and some of its finest quality mangoes like 'Summer Bahisht' is a late variety coming at the end of the season. Pakistan is among the top 4 to 5 producers of this king of fruits and the third largest exporter of mangoes in the world. Last year it had exported 82,000 tons and fetched 24 million US dollars. The production of the current year, the sources told PAGE, is estimated to be 1.4 million tons.

Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board's (PHDEB's) Chief Operating Officer Mohammad Iqbal said the production has fallen owing to persistent weather condition (low temperature). "We are therefore estimating lower production as usually a bumper crop is invariably followed by lower crop year," he added. But still the production has been quiet satisfactory and beyond their initial estimation. Iqbal said the weather factor had so far minimal effect on the mango crop.

According to data released by PHDEB, from June to early July, over a lakh metric tons mangoes were exported to Dubai alone, which is now a big market followed by Oman, London, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Muscat and Kuwait. Most of the consignments were airfreight and new destinations included China, South Africa, Australia, Russia, Holland and Iran. Iqbal said extreme care is being taken to maintain quality control and the fruit is being processed only through the registered export units to avoid any complaints or complication which had been occurring in the past.

Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Agriculture Marketing Rana Muhammad Qasim Noon has cautioned that main problem in boosting the export of fresh fruits and vegetables is our inability to comply with the strict quality and standard requirements and value addition for prolonging shelf life of the products.

He told PAGE in an exclusive interview that currently Pakistan produces 13 million tons of fruits and vegetables annually that valued around two billion US dollars. Out of this only half a million tones worth around 140 million US dollars could be exported to various foreign countries. He said hectic efforts are underway to boost the exports and emphasis is being laid to increase the share of fruit and vegetable exports in the world market which is estimated to worth 80 billion US dollars. According to him, several projects have been initiated in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Trade and other departments concerned in order to boost the exports in a big way.




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