Australian reservations on mangoes not addressed
November 30, 2012
The unnecessary delay in documentation at ministries/public sector departments has always remained a major hurdle in resolution of any issue. Some reservations shown by Australian Audit team about the process of the proposed mango export to Australia are yet to be resolved despite a lapse of over six-month.
The delay on the part of Pakistan is likely to result in losing a lucrative market for the country’s mango in coming season, sources claimed. In response to a letter entitled “Is Pakistan not interested to export mango to Australia?” sent by Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) to Ministry of National Food Security and Research Department of Plant Protection, the ministry has claimed that “in response to some reservations of the Australian Audit Team of Biosecurity-DAFF, the Plant Protection Department (DPP) has formulated a draft document of MoU to be signed between DPP and Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) and separate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for registration of orchards, treatment facilities and Pack Houses.
In its letter sent to PFVA October 17, 2012, DPP has further claimed that the documents were already submitted to the Ministry of Food Security and Research and Ministry of Commerce for approval and onward take up with Australian Authorities. It further claimed that DPP has played a vital role in registration of export orchards, treatment facilities (Hot Water Dip Technique and Irradiation) and Pack Houses for export of fresh mango fruit from Pakistan to Australia and getting these approved from the audit team.
However, despite the claims of DPP and a positive report forwarded by an Australian inspection team, which had visited the country this year, the required documentations/process were yet to be completed on the part of Pakistan. According to Azam Muhammad, Pakistani Counsel General in Australia, the positive report about the existing testing facilities like VHT plants were already forwarded to the concerned department in Pakistan few months ago. But the department was yet to prepare SOP required for further progress in the process.
Australia could be a lucrative market for Pakistani mango which has a huge demand in the foreign country. A large number of Pakistanis living in Australia could also be consumers of the fruit. As the same product from India has not been welcomed in Australian market, Pakistani mango could get good share in the foreign valued market. Earlier Melissa Kelly, First Secretary (Political/Economic) of Australian High Commission in Islamabad had also confirmed that the report about mango has been submitted to the concerned departments in Pakistan. According to Waheed Ahmed Chairman PFVA, the process of documentation should be speedily completed as Australia is considered 3rd largest/lucrative market for the country’s fruit after US and Japan.
The exporters were highly concerned over the delay and poor response of authorities concerned to tap the highly valued markets as the process is lingering on since 2010. Australia had allowed the imports of mango from Pakistan after realising that the issue of mango quarantine and pest issue was also the same in India, Taiwan and Philippine from where the foreign country has allowed the import of fruit.
The Australian team, according to sources, had visited VHT Plants in Karachi and Irradiation Plant in Lahore, besides the production areas and farms in Multan, Sadiqabad and Interior Sindh to verify the health and quality of importable mango.