KARACHI: In what can be described as an unfortunate development, almost 70% mangoes in Punjab have been damaged by climatic hazards, causing shortage of the fruit in the local market. Following this shortage, an unusual jump in the prices of mangoes was also observed in different parts of the country.
The damage in Punjab, which produces 65% of the fruit, has also risked export targets this year as the country is unlikely to meet the 0.1-million ton of export target during the current season.
“Pakistan’s horticultural sector has become most vulnerable to global warming and other climatic changes. To effectively deal with the growing situation for horticultural products, the government needs to take steps on an emergency basis,”said Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) Research and Development Chairman Waheed Ahmed.
The prevailing situation, he said, is feared to pose irreparable damages to the agricultural sector ultimately creating a threat to national food security. He said that the hot weather apparently as a result of global warming is an alarming situation for agricultural products. The unusual cold weather in winter season also poses threat to various crops.
According to him, the growers, traders and exporters associated with mango have faced billions of rupees worth losses following the fresh damage.
The country has so far exported 41,000 tons of mangoes with estimated revenue of $22.55 million this season. Mango was mainly exported to the UAE, Gulf states, Central Asian states, the EU, Australia, US and Canada.
Pakistani mango was being sold at increased prices in the international market because of its better quality and enhanced demand in the month of Ramazan.
The exporters were selling mangoes at average price of $550 per ton compared to last year’s price of $300.
Despite good demand and better price in the international market, the export target will be difficult to meet.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2015.