Pakistan, which is going to start exporting mangoes by May 25, is likely to remain shut out of the lucrative US and Japanese markets.
Despite initiatives taken by the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to introduce Pakistani mangoes in US and Japanese markets, export of the fruit to these countries remain unlikely this year because of the lack of a well-equipped fruit treatment facility in the country.
The country is also estimated to be facing a 30% loss in production due to climatic changes in the country. Production is likely to stand around 1.2 million tons of mangoes against the production of 1.7 million tons recorded during the previous season.
Last year, 0.134 million tons of mango were exported, generating revenues of at least $38 million, according to PFVA co-Chairman Waheed Ahmed. This year, the target was fixed at 0.15 million tons, with estimated revenues of $50 million.
The reduction in production, he said, was mainly because of climatic changes which affected mango trees in Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas and Mityari in Sindh; and Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Shuja Abad, Muzaffar Garh and Khanewal in Punjab.
Japan last year approved the mangoes tested through a small VHT facility in the country; but it is not viable to use the same facility for commercial purposes because of its limited functionality and capacity. Thus, exports to Tokyo remain a distant dream, Ahmed said.
The absence of a quarantine facility in the country is also not favourable to exporters; as no exporter wishes to risk sending an entire consignment to the US before quality approval, while also bearing the huge freight cost, he said.
A proposal for the setting up of a commercial processing plant and a common facility centre has already been sent to the Ministry of Commerce, but the ministry has yet to take a step in this regard.
Beside the two important foreign markets, the country is also losing the market in Iran because of sanctions imposed by the US, as commercial banks are reluctant to be involved in financial transactions in this regard. Iran is regarded as a valuable market in terms of prompt payment for imported fruits; existing exports or smuggling will not benefit the country in terms of revenue, Waheed said.
He also revealed that a delegation from Australia was due to visit Pakistan this month to inspect mango farms and processing units in the country. The opening of Australian markets for the Pakistani mango – expected during this year – will be an important development for the country’s fruit exporters.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.