FAISALABAD: Owning to climate change in Pakistan especially in the mango growing areas, mango growers and experts fear a reduction in the overall yield by at least 30% as well as decrease in mango exports.
In 2011, the Pakistani mango growers succeeded in making a breakthrough in exporting to the US. However, this year, with the fall in yield, they stand to lose this advantage. All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) Chairman Waheed Ahmed told The Express Tribune that “the decline was due to weather changes that affected mango groves in many parts of the country including Mirpurkhas, Mityari Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Rahim Yar Khan Multan, Shuja Abad, Muzaffargarh and Khanewal.
“For the current year, the government has set a target for export of mangoes up to 150,000 metric tons and generation of an estimated $50 million.”, he said. He pointed out that in the year 2011 134,000 tons of mangoes had been exported which fetched about $38 million.
Aftab Khan Kahichi, a leading mango grower of Vehari, said one of the primary reasons for low export numbers was the lack of infrastructure. “There is insufficient infrastructure like storage, standardisation and required machinery and equipment to deal with adverse weather,” he said. “Likewise, the packing and preserving quality and standard of mangoes as per buyer requirements is also not available to the growers”, he added.
Some agriculture experts said that the yield of mango can be assessed with the scale starting from below normal (poor) to excellent extremes with two normal and good mid levels as well.
Dr Noorul Islam, Director General, Ayub Agriculture Research Institute (AARI), said that harsh frost bite, has had a severe adverse impact as late as march this year. “Prolonged winter season also impacted the start of late flowering which in turn will lower yield,” Dr. Noor ul Islam said.
Dr Hameed Ullah, Horticulturalist at Multan Mango Research Institute, said that mango orchards had also seen attacks of the hopper and fruit fly and other diseases had also caused a reduction in the potential output for the year. And in the mango growing areas the weather has still not been ideal. “Up to now, two heavy wind storms have been received which has reduced the load of mango trees in the form of fruit drop as well”, he added.
A team of mango experts comprising Munir Khan of the Institute of Development Studies, NWFP Agricultural University Peshawar, Professor Khalid Mustafa of the Department of Marketing & Agribusiness, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Mussawar Shah of the Department of Rural Sociology, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Naushad Khan and Jehan Zeb Khan of Hazara University, Mansehra, collaborated to produce a study about “Forecasting Mango Production in Pakistan – An Econometric Model Approach”. The report concluded that that production of mango in Pakistan has increased due to use of improved farm inputs and better management practices. The team of experts also stressed the need for taking measure to increase export of mango by improving its quality, packaging and complying with international standards required under the WTO regime.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.
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