ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Food Security and Research and the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) have rejected the notion that the decrease in mango production has had a significant effect on Pakistan’s mango export target, as claimed by some exporters.
FPCCI Standing Committee on Horticulture and Agriculture Production Chairman Ahmad Jawad said achieving the 0.1-million-ton export target for the current season was not directly related to the decline in mango production as it constituted around 1% of the total produce.
“I don’t think the target will be difficult to achieve this year due to less production or damage to crops because the export target is a minute part of the total produce,” he said.
“Indeed, untimely rains and hailstorms have affected the flowering, fruit pattern and production of mango in Punjab, especially for Chaunsa, but that does not mean the exports are affected. There must be some other issues.”
Jawad added Pakistani mangoes were being sold at higher prices in the international market due to their quality and the rise in demand in Ramazan. However, this year’s production is likely to be around 1.2 million tons, compared to 1.7 million tons in the previous year.
“It is also true that extreme weather conditions pose a credible threat to the horticulture sector, which needs to be addressed,” he said. “Similarly, we may look into other factors that affect the export process to some extent.”
For example, the Department of Plant Protection has an inadequate number of inspectors to monitor export operations and certify the produce for exports, especially in south Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“It is about time the department should overcome issues like the shortage of inspectors through hiring services of qualified professionals who will provide a better analysis for the UK and EU markets,” Jawad said.
He said there was a need to intensify efforts to increase the volume of mango exports as the country recently got approval for exports to Australia and South Korea. Yet, he said, no marketing strategy was adopted to tap these markets despite the fact Pakistani mangoes could earn better dividends.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2015.
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