The national mango festival kicked off on June 20, 2010 and thousands of people came to see the different varieties of the fruit on display at the event.
Widely recognised as one of the country’s most popular fruits, the mango is also known locally as ‘the king of fruits’ and traces its history in being the most preferred fruit of most Mughal monarchs in South Asia.
The fruit is now regarded as one of Pakistan’s prime exports as growers struggle to increase production of over 65 different varieties of mangoes. The mango festival is an annual event, organized to help lift the morale of farmers as well as provide a much needed boost to the local economy. The festival displays most mango varieties cultivated in Pakistan today.
Rahim Yar Khan district coordination officer (DCO) Ahmed Javed Qazi said that the event aimed to create awareness regarding some of Pakistan’s natural resources, especially its agricultural produce. “We are blessed with some of the best varieties of mangoes in the world and we need to promote our agricultural produce on an international level, so that we can earn foreign exchange and bring an end to the poverty that plagues this country. The key to doing this is to promote our agricultural industry,” he said.
Several types of mangoes were on display at the festival including the Anwar ratole, Lab Mashooq, Lab Ashiq, Tohfa Ghalib, Tota Pari and Dusehri. The three-day event took over two months to plan, as organiser’s said that most varieties had to be brought in from growers based in different provinces.
The district officer (DO) agriculture Javed Iqbal said that the three-day event usually took a year of hard work for both the organizers and growers. “This time several tableaus were also presented during the event. In which children’s Bankay Mian ki qawali enthralled audiences. Mirza Ghalib’s love for mangoes was also shown in the tableaus and thousands of men, women and children thronged the Sheikh Zayed Public School to see the mangoes on display,” he said.
“Its really beautiful and the event showcases the best varieties. The city government has arranged a fabulous event this year,” said Rashida Kamil, a Rahim Yar Khan resident.
Rahim Yar khan produces 24 percent of the country’s mango produce. Over 4000 mango orchards on more than 7000 acres of land are located in the district. Most farmers in the district are engaged in the production or packaging of mangoes.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2010.