Concerned with post harvest losses of mangoes and increasing the fruit’s production and export, academics, farmers, traders and the officials shared proposals and experiences at a seminar held on Wednesday. The event was organised at Sindh Agriculture University (SAU), Tandojam in collaboration with the Sindh Abadgar Board, Sindh Agriculture Research Institute Tandojam and Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF).
Mango, called the king of fruits, is grown in more than 100 countries, but its Sindhri variety is considered unique in taste and aroma.
SAU Vice Chancellor Dr Fateh Marri proposed setting up farmers’ markets in major cities of Sindh to allow growers to sell their own produce. He said these markets should also be set up at shopping malls and other bigger markets.
He said the varsity would establish a clean mango nursery with healthy plants where it will encourage graduates to bring business plans, besides engaging them in processing, packing and grading. Marri emphasised that Pakistan cannot compete with other vegetable and fruit exporting countries because the country lacked management, packaging and grading skills necessary to ensure export quality.
Meanwhile, Sindh Agriculture Secretary Abdul Rahim Soomro underlined that the gap in research is one of the main factors behind poor results in the yield of different crops including mangoes. Acknowledging the issue of unavailability of certified seeds, he suggested that SAU graduates should be engaged to meet the need.
According to him, agro processing zones, established in 2000 in nine cities of Sindh, have become dysfunctional. He said the government was struggling to revive them through a public-private partnership by involving the Sindh investment Board in the agribusiness.
Sindh Abadgar Board Vice President Mahmood Nawaz Shah suggested planting high density crops and fruits. “We traditionally plant 35 to 38 trees on one acre of land. Following the high density model, we may have 1000 trees on the same piece of land and can have more yield.”
Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF) Chief Executive Mahboobul Haque said his fund is planning to strengthen the supply chain by setting up cold storage, transportation and distribution mechanisms. He offered farmers the chance to establish small scale value addition plants at their farms.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2021.