It may be too early to predict with any degree of certainty but our country’s mango crop is likely to suffer a 35 per cent decline in output this year due to a combination of factors such as global warming and a deepening water crisis. That is perhaps not the only threat. Growers are expecting a smaller size of mango this year. The reasons for this are still unclear. However, it is not hard to see why exporters are jittery over these prospects. Buyers of Pakistani mangoes are accustomed to seeing large-sized fruit that are both succulent and sweet. A smaller variety would downgrade expectations.
Orchards in Hyderabad, Tando Allah Yar and Mirpurkhas districts of Sindh have just not received enough water this season and the effects have been fairly devastating. The districts of Muzaffargarh, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan and Shujabad in the province of Punjab have experienced a similar shortage and growers as a result expect a 30pc to 50pc drop in production. A longer than usual winter in the mango-producing areas is likely to be blamed for the decline. The outbreak of disease has been another contributing factor. This is indeed disappointing because Pakistani mangoes have been doing well in the international market, outperforming a bigger producer like India over the past few years.
With an export target of 100,000 tonnes in the current year and foreign shipments barely 48 hours away, the wholesale price of mango is expected to increase from Rs2,400 to Rs3,000 per 40kg. And unless supplies increase to match demands the price level is likely to stay the same. Exporters have some things to look forward to. They will be using the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor route for the first time for mango exports. Rupee depreciation against the dollar could help offset losses suffered by growers.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2018.