UK’s quarantine department destroying all shipments of Pakistani mangoes

Published: July 3, 2013
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Industry officials say that the UK’s quarantine policies are getting stricter every year, and Pakistan faces serious damage to its exports if it fails to control fruit diseases, including fruit flies. PHOTO: FILE

Industry officials say that the UK’s quarantine policies are getting stricter every year, and Pakistan faces serious damage to its exports if it fails to control fruit diseases, including fruit flies. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Pakistani mango exporters are facing serious problems in the United Kingdom, where the quarantine department is disposing off almost all consignments from Pakistan because of the presence of fruit flies.

The situation has deteriorated to the point that many exporters have halted shipments of mango to the UK, fearing more losses if the situation persists.

“The Government of Pakistan and the concerned ministries have to immediately take notice of this situation because it is hurting the country’s name. We have to control the presence of fruit flies in our shipments, otherwise Pakistani fruits could face a complete ban in Europe,” Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association (PFVA) Chairman Waheed Ahmed told The Express Tribune.

Mango is one of the top fruit exports of Pakistan, and its ban in any European country could badly hurt its overall exports of 18,000 tons to Europe. Home to huge Pakistani and Indian diaspora communities, the UK is a major market for Pakistan. Pakistan exports 8,000 tons of mangoes to this country alone.

Industry officials say that the UK’s quarantine policies are getting stricter every year, and Pakistan faces serious damage to its exports if it fails to control fruit diseases, including fruit flies.

“This is a warning sign for Pakistan. If the Pakistani government and fruit growers do not mend their ways, they would lose not only the UK, but many more countries,” Ahmed warned.

Elaborating on the issue, Ahmed said that exporters can do little about controlling fruit diseases or pests. “The main responsibility lies with fruit growers and the government that they realise that fruit diseases are on the rise. If they are not controlled, they will increase in the future,” he warned.

“Pakistan has to take both short and long-term measures to tackle the rising menace of fruit flies and other diseases. The private sector is ready to work with government departments to this end,” he added.

Fruit flies damages the exterior of fruits and vegetables, making them unfit for human consumption. This is why the quarantine departments of countries enforce strict laws to discourage imports of fruits and vegetables that are affected from such pests.

Exporters expect that the total production of mangoes may touch 1.55 million tons this year, up from a million tons last year. An export target of 0.175 million tons has been set for this year, and the fruit may fetch $60 million if it exporters successfully meet the target.

The new markets currently being explored by Pakistani exporters are Japan, South Korea and Mauritius. Pakistan already exports the fruit to 40 countries of the world, including Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Island, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Kuwait, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Lebanon.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (61)

  • Mazher Mehboob
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:12AM

    Are you kidding me Quality Health Safety and Environment has Zero Tolerance in Pakistan.

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  • Asif Butt
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:23AM

    Question is not why UK did it and why it happened.

    What I’m thinking is WHO WILL TELL US PEOPLE IN PAKISTAN WHEN THE MANGOES WHICH WE EAT HERE ARE CONTAMINATED OR NOT !!!!!

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  • Deepwater
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:24AM

    Such true friends.

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  • FYI
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:32AM

    Please don’t destroy those Mangoes, Please send them back to Pakistan. We have millions who would not mind eating those.
    One Man’s Poison is another Man’s Food !!

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:43AM

    It is the responsibility of the mango exporters and not the government to fumigate the mangoes or any other fruit before shipment. Have they heard of this thingy called fumigation. Mangoes could also be exported to the US if these are properly fumigated and shipped with certification not a fake one but genuine one.

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  • A. Khan
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:48AM

    That’s it. Blame the government for not doing enough to control “export” of fruit flies. When will everyone realize in Pakistan that it is not the government’s job to do everything ? These are all private exporters. Why can’t they ensure that fruit flies are eliminated during their packaging process when the fruit is supposedly washed thoroughly ?

    I can almost visualize the conditions where the packing is done. This is reflected in the extremely poor packaging that Pakistani mangoes come in, complete with a few shiny scraps of streamer. Have never quite understood why that is added as its not enough to cushion the fruit from damage and is also too little for decoration. Plus the stickers on the fruit are made of terrible material that separates when pulled leaving some glue and paper sticking to the fruit. This happens with no other country’s fruit that I am aware of and I have bought apples from New Zealand and Chile. The packing is superb.

    Exporters, please improve the packaging processes, including resolving the contamination issue, as it helps protect the fruit against damage. Its not enough to simply put it on the first airplane. Its your duty to ensure that the fruit reaches its destination in top condition.

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  • Qureshi
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:52AM

    If the Pakistani nations stops their obsession with Altaf Hussain, then they will start thinking of these important issues. Well, other countries will not be honest with you if you cant be honest with yourself.

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  • Mariam Ahsan
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:56AM

    idiots

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  • Syed A. Mateen
    Jul 3, 2013 - 2:10AM

    The British Government is health conscious and that is one of the reasons that UK’s quarantine department is destroying all shipments of Pakistani mangoes.

    It is the policy of the UK’s health department and it has nothing to do with Government of Pakistan.

    Pakistani mango exporters must know as what are the prerequisites of UK’s health department.

    When flies will accompany with the product, who is going to accept it in the world? Neither any government will accept, nor any health conscious individual will accept it.

    There is a lot of difference between the health department of Pakistan and UK’s health department.

    This can only happen in Pakistan, not even in Arab countries, what to talk about UK and other European countries.

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  • running with the hare and hunting with the hounds
    Jul 3, 2013 - 2:27AM

    But no Problem , is UK is flies free??Recommend

  • Uzair Javaid
    Jul 3, 2013 - 2:27AM

    @Asif Butt: we are immune buddy ;) relax!!

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  • Ricky
    Jul 3, 2013 - 2:32AM

    If only we would have elected IK he would have taken care of this problem like all others in 90 days. I am not surprised that Pakistani fruits and vegetables are banned in many first world countries. We are exporting fruits and they are throwing it away, while we are importing expensive vitimins.

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  • Jul 3, 2013 - 2:42AM

    Pakistanis are ready to eat it.Bring it to local market.

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  • longislander
    Jul 3, 2013 - 2:43AM

    I think british govt and their establishment are making a plan to destroy the shipments of Pakistani mangoes because our mangoes are the only satisfation for 98% poor people in Pakistan and around the world. Also I think George Gallowey and Lord Nazir are also planning to kill Pakistani mangoes.

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  • wsd
    Jul 3, 2013 - 3:15AM

    Where we have no concept of preventive medicine for human beings how we will develop any strategy prevent diseases in plants, fruits and crops. We like to boast our agricultural potential but on the other hand our yield per acre and quality of our produce is deteriorating fast.

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  • Raj - USA
    Jul 3, 2013 - 3:20AM

    Why blame the British Govt. Even Imran Khan threw away the 8 crates of mangoes though it came from the head of Pakistan.

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  • Raj Kafir
    Jul 3, 2013 - 4:40AM

    I do not think India is behind this action by UK.

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  • Yas
    Jul 3, 2013 - 4:44AM

    Here in Australia you can not pick Mangoes from a farm in North Queensland and carry it down to any other state without proper treatment because of fruit flies let alone importing it from another country like Pakistan where concept of quarantine is near to non existent.
    Pakistani exporters, please pay attention to international standards and improve your quality if you want to compete with other countries and export you products to the western countries otherwise you will see such instances over and over again.

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  • Rex Minor
    Jul 3, 2013 - 5:15AM

    This subject needs accurate reporting. What the Indian and the Pakistani exporters have not learned that they could export mangoes when they are not fully ripe, the methodology that the south American use in exporting their mangoes an Bananas to Europe. .

    Rex Minor

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  • Mazher Mehboob
    Jul 3, 2013 - 6:03AM

    In our priority list we have more important things to do like banning You Tube

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  • gtm2012
    Jul 3, 2013 - 6:03AM

    Another news Item in ET, dated July 3 clearly states how the the USAID is helping Pakistani mango exporters process mangoes for entry to the US market.

    This involves treating fruit like mango and citrus with hot water at a specified temperature to kill the fruit fly eggs laid in the rind, cooling the fruit, drying, and dipping it into edible waxes if needed, where specific safe organic or approved agents may be added to prevent the flies from penetrating or laying eggs. For example, the essential oil in black pepper confuses the sense of smell of these flies, which are attuned to the “fruity” aromas coming from ripening fruit; this oil safely can be incorporated in the edible wax dip and is safe for human consumption, as all of us will agree!

    I am certainly not a USAID agent, but to be fair, they have set up at least 2 centers in the US to hold the exporters’ hands and show them how to penetrate the US market, & how to comply with all US procedures. Hence, those exporters now know exactly WHAT to do to comply with international standards applicable for ANY other country. Come on Exporters, how can you lie through your teeth?

    Exporters want to pocket extraordinary profits and pass along the blame and responsibilities to someone else. The whining air of injured innocence from men who are sharp as pins evokes contempt from all, especially in international circles. Since profits are not shared with the government nor the public, why should public money be spent to help these or anyone?

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  • Char Latan
    Jul 3, 2013 - 6:45AM

    Some Pakistani mangos are known to explode.

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  • truthbetold
    Jul 3, 2013 - 6:52AM

    @Rex Minor:

    A few years ago the Indians set up a facility for sanitizing mangoes and other fresh fruits/vegetables to rid them of fungus, bacteria and insects before they are exported to the US. The US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and the department of agriculture approved the facility. India has been successfully exporting mangoes now for many years.

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  • Hari Om
    Jul 3, 2013 - 8:32AM

    Why Pakistan which prides itself on her nuclear weapon technology cannot develop a food irradiation facility like India has done to support among others Mango exports?

    Surely developing food irradiation facility, while lacking the macho martial glamour of a atomic weapon is a needed and productive application of nuclear technology.

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  • Rehan
    Jul 3, 2013 - 8:43AM

    Flies are just trying to immigrate to UK – they are after all Pakistani flies.

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  • Curious and Furious
    Jul 3, 2013 - 9:26AM

    Shows the standards we live with, such initiatives should be an eye opener for our national/provincial regulatory authorities to keep a check on the fruits being grown for possible health hazards…
    No wonder Pakistan has a lower life expectancy, a harsh truth to admit, than be in denial……………………………………………………………………..

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  • Imtiaz
    Jul 3, 2013 - 9:31AM

    I am in Mauritius right now… And unable to find any Pakistani mango yet… A big market yet still to be captured.

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  • truthbetold
    Jul 3, 2013 - 10:11AM

    @Hari Om:

    India is not using irradiation technology on anything and definitely not on mango exports. Irradiation is not an approved technology in the US due to fear of adverse effects on human health. The mango export facility uses conventional method such as quick hot water wash.

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  • B
    Jul 3, 2013 - 10:17AM

    @Rex Minor:
    Where in the article is India mentioned?. Why bring India into it or is it to justify your blunders?

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  • zezu
    Jul 3, 2013 - 10:22AM

    @running with the hare and hunting with the hounds:
    UK is pakistani flies and crow free…

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  • afee
    Jul 3, 2013 - 10:37AM

    I wish more flies would stop all fruits to ship outside the country so that these may on cheap cost available for all.

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  • Hari Om
    Jul 3, 2013 - 10:57AM

    @truthbetold

    You are misinformed.

    Mango exports from India to the US are irradiated at a facility at Lasalgaon near Nashik in Maharashtra. Indeed the US considers irradiation as the phytosanitary method of choice with regards to mango imports.

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  • abdullah khan
    Jul 3, 2013 - 11:37AM

    Good decision GB government. And we requested them To ban it for Ever. This decision will make Mango Available in pak markets with cheap Rates. Presently pakistani can’t imagine to buy it. And for pakistanis have also no problem of infection. They are immune to these infectionsRecommend

  • sgrr
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:17PM

    At least on egood news for Pakistani consumers, they may get the mangoes at cheaper rates this year.

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  • TK
    Jul 3, 2013 - 12:46PM

    man, fruit flies were complimentary

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  • M.A. Qureshi
    Jul 3, 2013 - 2:42PM

    Not a matter of concern for Pakistani common men. Government has allowed export of every edible items such as; meat, poultry, eggs, wheat, rice, vegetables, milk, fruits so as that all such items have become out of reach of common and poor man. Government should first give priority to make available to us, then surplus items should be exported. To be frank, I am glad to hear this news, at least now we can buy and eat mangoes at cheaper rates.Recommend

  • HBK
    Jul 3, 2013 - 3:14PM

    @ sgrr
    they would get more expensive as more stock would be imported and less available for local consumer…

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  • I am a Khan
    Jul 3, 2013 - 4:43PM

    They should have sent them back rather than wasting food (mangoes). The UK is particularly terrible at wasting food. They routinely throw away fish they get in the net, which is in excess of the fishing quotas allowed. and fish is terribly expensive in the UK! Dont understand these rules which lead to food wastage. They could send all the mangoes and any excess fish (beyond the legal quotas) to the poor countries where people are dying of hunger :(

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  • Mazloom Pakistani
    Jul 3, 2013 - 4:49PM

    The Export Mafiaaaa …………. ??????

    Export to gain more profit ultimately result in lower supply in local markets. Thus resulting in price hikes.

    Aur daein lein mazloom pakistaniyoun ke tau yei hoga na

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  • qqqq
    Jul 3, 2013 - 5:29PM

    it could be true. india is also a big exporter of mango. it happened suddenly. @Raj Kafir:

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  • joy
    Jul 3, 2013 - 6:30PM

    Oh I see! It was mango diplomacy which brought the British PM was to Islamabad:)

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  • KDP
    Jul 3, 2013 - 6:34PM

    What type of health dangers Fruit Flies pose?
    After a day or two Fruit flies appear or are born and hover around on Banana I purchase in the US Store. I eat such banana all the time. Hope FF are just on the peel!!!

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  • KDP
    Jul 3, 2013 - 6:49PM

    Western Grocery stores have psychologically trained us to believe that every single fruit should be shiny and spotless. As a result farmers use and apply tons of insecticides and other chemicals to minimize damages caused by insect and other plant diseases. People will stop shopping in a store if they find a rotten spot or two on few apples out of hundreds in a pile. My mother used to cut away the rotten part of mango (and other fruits) and we eat the rest of the good part. We all survive my mother is 90 years old

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  • KDP
    Jul 3, 2013 - 6:56PM

    @I am a Khan:

    Who will pay freight? Freight Cost and other logistics would be more than the value of Mangoes.

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  • KDP
    Jul 3, 2013 - 8:18PM

    I understand flying fruit flies around fruits is unsightly. However at the same time western grocery stores have psychologically trained us to believe that every fruit must be spotless and shiny. Fruits with natural spots on them are rejected and therefore Farmers use tons of insecticides and other chemicals to minimize such appearance damages. My mother used to cut away a rotten portion of mango and other fruits (sometimes 1/4 of the fruit) and we all eat the rest of the good pulp. We all survived and my mother is 90 years old. My parents used to purchase lot of raw mangoes in bulk and spread them on concrete and cover them with grass for ripening process to start. Obviously some mangoes would rot. We were instructed to eat rotten ones first (of course after removing the bad part of the fruit). We now joke among ourselves about hardly eating a whole good mango because we would find mangoes with some rot everyday and eat them first!!!

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  • Arun
    Jul 3, 2013 - 8:47PM

    @Rex Minor:
    Have seen on a number of occasions, why is it always ‘Indian & Pakistani’ a common category (state administration & machinery per say). Good luck portraying a picture that both the nations are somewhat on the same lateral..
    Please, you know it. Don’t make one outta yourself.

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  • Roomi
    Jul 3, 2013 - 9:11PM

    Send us back……….on half price….Business…….aye!

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  • Jul 3, 2013 - 11:25PM

    WTH exporters are doing? Hurting the image of Pakistan, which will lead to ban! Pehle Rice got confiscated in Mexico and now mangoes in UK….

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  • Raj - USA
    Jul 4, 2013 - 12:05AM

    @Rex Minor:
    Fruit flies do not come on mangoes just because they are ripe. The flies lay their eggs on the mangoes even when they are raw or semi ripe. The eggs hatch later. So, hot water / steam treatment or irradiation are the only acceptable certifications as far as exports to USA are concerned. Mexico follows the same procedures for export of mangoes to USA. I have seen boxes of mangoes from Mexico certifying that the mangoes have been steam treated.

    Mangoes and bananas are different and different process is used. Different types of fruits and vegetables require different types of treatment.

    Ripe fruits attract flies everywhere. Countries importing fruits from other countries are concerned of the flies, larva and eggs that come from overseas along with the fruits.

    Here in USA we have been getting Indian Alphonso mangoes for the last 5 – 7 years. They are expensive and costs around $34 for a box ($4 each for a medium size mango). They are expensive because they are shipped from India by airfreight. I have seen airfreight labels on the boxes.

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  • truthbetold
    Jul 4, 2013 - 12:12AM

    @Hari Om:

    “@truthbetold
    You are misinformed.
    Mango exports from India to the US are irradiated at a facility at Lasalgaon near Nashik in Maharashtra. Indeed the US considers irradiation as the phytosanitary method of choice with regards to mango imports.

    I stand corrected and yes, I was misinformed on this. You are right. India is irradiating mangoes exported to the US as per: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/planthealth/content/printableversion/faqimpindian_mango.pdf

    Upon further researching, the FDA/USDA indeed approved irradiation of fruits and vegetable in 1986. It also approved irradiation of different meat products and other foods over the past two plus decades. However, there is considerable public opposition to irradiated product, just as in the case of GMO food.

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  • Legend
    Jul 4, 2013 - 3:47AM

    @I am a Khan
    Legal quotas are there to ensure sustainable fishing, not for food wastage. Fish that are caught in the net are still alive when brought up to the boat. All the juveniles and any adults over the legal limit are released back into the water.

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  • Ashkenazi
    Jul 4, 2013 - 8:32AM

    @Asif Butt:
    Trade Wars. Weaken Pakistan economically. That is reason when anyone talks about pipelines Camerons and Kerrys of West are first to complain.

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  • Weirdith
    Jul 4, 2013 - 10:08AM

    Is there a foreign hand behind this? Is this foreign hand inserting fruit flies into the mangoes? Points to ponder about. :-)

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  • I am a Khan
    Jul 4, 2013 - 2:24PM

    @Legend:

    Seems you have not seen the Channel 4 documentary (UK Channel) which showed that all the Salmon fish caught in the nets in the UK are dead and then thrown away into the sea, just because it is over the fishing quotas. and the cost of fish is very expensive in the UK! either increase fishing quotas or send excess fish to poor countries rather than wastefully throwing dead fish into the sea. Same goes for mangoes. send them to poor countries if your rich and weak bodied folk cannot eat the mangoes, rather than wasting food! terrible record at wasting food and then they shout ‘make poverty history’ or ‘fight against hunger’. absolute hypocricy!

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  • True Muslim
    Jul 4, 2013 - 3:22PM

    @truthbetold:

    So what? We don’t want your advice.

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  • Samia Malik
    Jul 4, 2013 - 3:24PM

    Living in England now, I can tell how much we crave pakistani mangoes here, they are much better in quality than the Indian mangoes and much much more in demand. Probably one of the few things remaining giving a good name to Pakistan.

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  • Hatf XX
    Jul 4, 2013 - 4:14PM

    @True Muslim: best…comment…evarrrr

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  • Farhan
    Jul 4, 2013 - 5:07PM

    @Samia Malik:
    Ok, thats great. I get your point.

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  • blaisebob
    Jul 4, 2013 - 7:44PM

    It’s a good thing we’re not exporting our vegetables laden with carcinogenics.

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  • M. Emad
    Jul 4, 2013 - 9:46PM

    Most Pakistani mangoes we find in UK are of bad quality. Worms/maggots/rotten etc are very common in Pakistani mangoes. British quarantine department probably does the right thing by destroying all new shipments of Pakistani mangoes. Pakistani mango growers and exporters should improve the quality.

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  • Khalid Rai
    Jul 21, 2013 - 11:36PM

    The demand for Pakistani mango and the pulp in the middle east market is quite large but article like this and the last year in the tribune biz created lot of suspicion about Pakistani mangoes and its export to other countries. Most of the middle eastern countries they are looking for mango pulp from Pakistan for their juice industries but feel some thing wrong as soon as the mango season starts there is some rumour injected in the media so any good importer just get scared off.

    If anybody else feels like this pls.join I felt this and I want to know from Mr.Waheed PFVA chairman that what is the story why this sort of information put into the media if there is any truth about this pls explain where it happened.

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