WORLD'S TASTES DEVELOPED FOR PAKISTANI MANGOES

KANWAL SALEEM
Mar 16 - 22, 2009

LAHORE: Numerous kinds of mango (both grafted and Desi) are grown in the country. Desi varieties are consumed in fluid form and packed in tetra packs and are mostly sold in the superstores. The grafted varieties are eaten as a table fruit both domestically and internationally.

Among the few kinds of mango varieties are: Sindhri, Chaunsa, Saroli, Zafrani Saroli, Langra, Anwar Ratol, and Neelum.

Mango's share in the world export of fruit is about 15 percent, out of which 80 percent is Pakistan's share. Annual production of mangos in Pakistan is about one million tons, out of which 77 thousand tons are exported, which is only 7 percent of total output.

Earlier, mango was subject to compulsory grading for export by the Federal Marketing Department but the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has stopped their grading before the export for about 3 or 4 years. Now mango is exported without grading.

Mango having numerous kinds and varieties (both grafted and Desi) is grown in all the four provinces in variable areas.

PROVINCE HECTARES
Punjab 54,000
Sindh 46,000
Balochistan 11,000
NWFP 2,000

Mango exporters told PAGE that Pakistan could fetch substantial foreign exchange through extending necessary facilities to the exporters. Although mango export has been increasing year on year, the prices received by Pakistan in the import market are much lower than what our other competitors are getting because of their better packaging, they added.

A sizeable foreign exchange may be earned from mango export, if the government takes necessary measures for increasing mango export.

"Our mango has reached as far as Far East and Britain and other European countries, yet the Gulf States are the largest purchasers of our fruit.

As a modest estimate, 70% of our mangoes are fetched by Abu Dhabi which has turned up a distribution center of Pakistani mangoes for the entire Gulf States, they added.

A spokesman of Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Board (PHDEB) told this scribe that Multan is the hub of south Punjab and a mango cluster area. "Pakistani mango is liked the world over by demanders of fresh fruits," he said. "We are working on the formation of mango co-operatives to facilitate growers in production and marketing of their crops," he added.

He said the mango belt spreads over a wide area, from Sahiwal in the Punjab to Mirpur Khas and Hyderabad in Sindh. He called for establishing mango processing industry and infrastructure for value-added exports of the fruit.

Talking about problems being faced by mango growers, a spokesman of Mango Growers Association said that fruit fly remains major deterrent in export of mangoes and the setting up of VHT plants in mango growing areas in the country is imperative to exploit the export potential of mangoes.

It may be mentioned that Pakistan mango production during 2003-04 recorded at 1034.6 million tons of which less than 1/10th of production was exported.

They said the reason for limited export and poor price was the white fly syndrome and not availability of VHT plants.

At present, the Pakistan mango despite high quality, flavour and taste is getting US $.292 per ton, while the Indian mango is getting a price of US $.476 per ton.

A leading fruit exporter said: "There are no less than 10 countries, which are importing mangoes and after processing and value addition they re-export mango products with their brand names at higher rates." This fact could be judged by the export price of the following countries: USA 1074 dollars per ton, Netherlands 1057 dollars per ton, Philippine 1163 dollars per ton, Belgium 1265 dollars per ton, Spain 1415 dollars per ton, Francec 1622 dollars per ton, and Australia 2281 dollars per ton.

He said the US consumes 40 per cent of the world production of mango but Pakistan failed to create a market for its mango. He said India has already set up a VHT processing plant and its export has increased manifold. He said the other reason for limited export could be the harvesting of mangoes before physiological maturity stage by the contractors of the mango orchards.

He said that Sindh mango has more scope for its export in the world markets but unfortunately the growers are not able to avail this opportunity for the simple reason that they do not adopt scientific cultivation, harvesting, grading, packing, and efficient transport methodology.

He said recently mango orchards of Sindh are badly affected by a new disease namely 'Verticillum Wilt, initially causing damage to the root of mango tree and then its trunk, branches, leaf and yield. He said that fungicide fumigation is needed to control this disease.

He said by adopting scientific methodology in planting and tutelage, mango tree has strength to live up to 100 years to give yield of more than 10 tons per acre as compared to present production of 2.5 to 3.0 tons per acre.