MANGO EXPORT EXPECTED TO DECLINE IN THIS FISCAL

MALAYSIAN INTEREST IN PAKISTANI MANGOES

KANWAL SALEEM
Aug 04 - 10, 2008

With mango production is expected to range between 9-10 million tons this year mainly due to heavy rains and thunderstorms in crop production areas, mango export is feared to decline during financial year 2008-09 on account of increase in business cost of mango export as well as low output of the crop in the country.

Last fiscal 2007-08 mango production reached around 22 million tons and with mangoes export to 48 countries the country earned about $36 million in 2007-08.

"This year mango production is expected to range between 9 to 10 million tons while it seems impossible to achieve even last year of mango export figure, sources in the Punjab agriculture department told PAGE. In Punjab, particularly where "Chonsa" variety, constituting 50 to 55 percent of exports was adversely affected, the sources said, adding that in Sindh, mango production is declining due to insufficient return to the growers as compared to high input cost and a non-supporting attitude of the government especially towards marketing.

While mangoes harvesting is in full swing the return does not look appealing due to high freight charges. The cost of export of mangoes has tremendously increased because of various factors like less production, about 25 percent increase in packaging material. Beside other constraints, 30-70 percent increase in airlines freight due to increase in oil prices in international market was among the main reasons of decline in mango export, the sources said.

Moreover, the country's exports during the financial year 2007-08 totaled Rs.1208118 million as against Rs.1029312 million during the financial year 2006-07, showing an increase of 17.37 percent.

According to figures released by Federal Bureau of Statistics, the total exports from Pakistan during June, 2008 were amounted at Rs.138118 million as against Rs.131572 million in May 2008 and Rs.93 615 million during June 2007, showing an increase of 4.98 percent and 47.54 percent respectively. Main commodities of exports during June 2008 were rice Basmati (Rs.11, 096 million), Readymade garments (Rs.10, 352 million), Knitwear (Rs.10, 248 million), Bed wear (Rs.10, 235 million), Cotton cloth (Rs.10, 135 million), Machinery specialized for particular industries (Rs.8, 471 million), Rice others (Rs.7, 842 million), Cotton yarn (Rs.7, 152 million), Petroleum products-excl Top Naphta-(Rs.4, 992 million) and Art, silk & synthetic textile (Rs.4, 237 million).

On the other hand, imports into the country from July-June (2007-2008) totaled Rs.2, 512,271 million as against Rs.1, 851,806 million during the corresponding period of last year showing an increase of 35.67 percent. In June, the imports were amounted at Rs.270, 723 million as against Rs.262, 555 million in May, 2008 and Rs.169, 538 million during June, 2007, showing an increase of 3.11 percent and 59.68 percent respectively.

Main commodities of imports during June, 2008 were Petroleum products (Rs.45, 190 million), Petroleum crude (Rs.41, 295 million), Palm oil (Rs.15, 309 million), Power generating machinery (Rs.12, 042 million), Iron & steel (Rs.11, 079 million), Plastic materials (Rs.8, 658 million), Other Apparatus (Telecom) (Rs.8, 428 million), Electrical machinery and apparatus (Rs.6, 454 million), Iron & steel scrap (Rs.3, 350 million) and Mobile phone (Rs.3, 168 million).

Business circles told PAGE that Pakistani Businessmen made many business deals during Ninth Malaysia International Food and Beverage (MIFB) Trade Fair, the biggest agro based trade fare of Malaysia held recently in Kuala Lumpur.

Pakistani businessmen made several business deals with business persons from Malaysia, Fiji, New Zealand, Algeria, Taiwan, Vietnam, Ghana, Costa Rica and Republic of Tonga for export of rice Fauji Cereals, spices, and mango juice. The Trade Show was attended by 300 exhibitors from Malaysia and foreign companies, wherein, Pakistani pavilion represented by seven exhibitors was one of the most visited pavilions during the trade show visited by buyers from 40 nations.

Pakistan High Commission had also arranged a Mini Mango Festival in the trade show for the promotion of Pakistani mangoes by introducing their top varieties and excellent taste. The Mango Festival successfully generated a great interest and liking for Pakistani mangoes amongst the visitors and Malaysian importers.