KARACHI: The recent ban on Indian mangoes being exported to the European Union (EU) countries offers a unique opportunity to Pakistan who can pounce and expand their business, Harvest Trading Director and horticulture expert Ahmad Jawad said in a statement.
The EU banned Indian alphonso mangoes and four vegetables from May to December 2015 on grounds that their mangoes were contaminated with non-European fruit flies.
“It is the right time for Pakistani exporters to push their product into high-value European markets so that mango lovers don’t feel a shortfall, especially for the EU where Pakistan has been awarded GSP Plus status,” Jawad said.
With an annual production capacity of around 1.6 million tons, India is the world’s largest mango exporter, selling up to 70,000 tons to overseas markets, according to The Economic Times.
The banning of Indian mangoes by the EU has opened up an opportunity for the Pakistani exporters. It may, however, be a wakeup call at the same time for the latter as both the countries use same technology: Hot Water Treatment (HWT).
“The government and its allied departments should impose strict monitoring of mangoes this year so that we may grab the markets in EU and the United Kingdom,” Jawad said, while talking to a group of journalists in Islamabad – the significance of the EU markets can be judged from the fact that the UK alone imports £6 million worth of mangoes from India, according to The Economic Times.
The controversial ban on Indian mangoes by the EU has heightened the concerns of Pakistani mango exporters who might suffer a similar fate, if they fail to comply with the EU regulation standards.
“The permission may be granted to only those exporters who are prepared to comply with the protocols set by the EU,” the statement quoted Jawad as saying.
The Pakistani mango export industry is promoting the use of HWT and looking after Global Gap Mango farms that have been doing good agriculture practices so that fruit flies and other pests may be destroyed before the shipments are dispatched, the statement read.
In HWT, mangoes go through a thorough cleaning system where they are treated in hot water at temperatures of around 48°C (118.4°F) for approximately an hour. They are then dried, packed and cold treated.
Pakistan’s HWT facility has also been approved by Australia, South Korea, Mauritius, Lebanon, and the facility is open to all in the fresh produce exporting trade.
However, Jawad informed that the country will have to wait to learn if the HWT facility satisfies authorities in the UK and EU.
The statement further said that the impact of the ban of Indian mangoes has turned into a controversy not only in India but also in the EU.
Many importers, retailers, growers and politicians have branded the prohibition as a punitive and over-reactionary measure and started active lobbying against it. They have even filed an e-petition to the concerned authorities for the reversal, the statement said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2014.
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