Pakistani mango exporters have met stringent quality standards imposed by Japan and the first shipment of the fruit went to the Far Eastern country a couple of days ago, traders say.
Mango is being processed in a vapour heat treatment plant provided by Japan years ago in 1981. Owing to non-utilisation earlier, the plant had stopped working but fruit traders in collaboration with state-run Trade Development Authority started a drive in early 2010 to make the plant operational.
Before the start of exports to Japan, around 400 kilogrammes of mango was processed in the plant. To inspect the quality of these mangoes, Deputy Director Yokohama Plant Protection Station Nobutoshi Soma arrived in Karachi and after examination declared the fruit fit for export.
All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers and Exporters Association former chairman Wahid Ahmad said though Japan was a small market for Pakistani mangoes, but in terms of price it was an important market where mangoes could fetch Rs350 per kg. “The start of mango exports to Japan is a milestone for the horticulture industry,” he said.
With the new development, he said, more fruit exporters would adopt global good agricultural practices (GAP) which would further promote Pakistani fruits in the international market.
Ahmad said this year 2,000 kg of mangoes would be exported to Japan, of which first shipment of 250 kg had been sent. “This consignment will be offered as gift to Pakistan’s embassy and Japanese authorities.”
In the next five years, the Japanese mango market could be worth $3 to $4 million for Pakistan as there were only a few countries which met Tokyo’s quality standards, he pointed out. These countries included the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and South Africa.
Ahmad said mango exports to Japan would start on a commercial basis next year for which a new vapour heat treatment plant would be installed. The association has sent a proposal to the commerce ministry for setting up a common facility centre and a feasibility report on the project will be prepared in a month.
Income earned from the centre will be used for boosting production of fruits, introducing new varieties and conducting research for improving quality.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2011.