‘World’s No 1’ mango export market may be missed again

May 08, 2013

IQBAL MIRZA

'World's No 1' mango export market
‘World’s No 1’ mango export market

Pakistan will again miss the opportunity of exporting mangoes to United States, world’s No 1 mango import market, Waheed Ahmed, Chairman, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers-Exporters and Merchants Association (PFVA) told Business Recorder in an interview here on Tuesday.

Himself one of the leading mango exporters, Waheed Ahmed regretted that lethargic approach of concerned departments in finding ways to overcome the strict quarantine requirements imposed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on import of mangoes, is resulting in loss of a huge market. Pakistan could easily export mangoes worth five to six million dollars annually if at least two radiation plants, one at Karachi and the other at Multan are set up for radiation treatment as required by USDA.

Non-existence of this facility is resulting not only in loss of foreign exchange but also in providing space to India to have a firm footing in that market. Pakistani mangoes far excel Indian mangoes in taste, aroma and colour and could easily capture the market. Pakistani mangoes have been approved for exports to US market on the condition that the fruit would first be treated at the radiation plant near Chicago. Treating/processing mangoes in US is not only a costlier business but also highly risky for the exporters. Unavailability of direct air services is another factor impeding exports, Chairman, PFVA said.

Since mango is a perishable item, exports via sea routes is not at all feasible as it is time consuming due to long transit. The only way out to tap the lucrative US market is to set up radiation facility in Pakistan, he said, adding that since Ministry of Commerce had allowed the export of mango of the coming season from May 25, the opportunity to enter the US market has again been lost. A notification has been issued by the ministry fixing the date for starting export of mango this year to avoid losses through unplanned and premature export of the fruit.

According to Waheed Ahmed, Chairman, while production of mango is expected to be 1.55 million tons, export target has been fixed at 0.175 million tones for this year. Pakistan may fetch US $60 million if that target is achieved. He however said the crop in Sindh had been badly affected due to climatic hazards and a drop of 0.15 million tones was feared, an estimated decline of 25 percent in 2013. Since the production of mango in Hyderabad, Tando Allayar, Mityari, Mirpur Khas and others parts of the province had been badly affected it had caused delay in the mango export season by two weeks.

Waheed said that mango had been successfully introduced in Japanese market. Previously, a limited quantity of Pakistani mango would be commercially exported to the foreign countries but that year the situation had largely improved as a result of processing the fruit through the existing pilot Vapor Heat Treatment (VHT) plant. In co-ordination with Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, PFVA would be promoting the processed fruit in the valued Japanese market, he said.

International barriers imposed on trade with Iran have also resulted in a decline of Pakistan’s exports to that country. Pakistani banks have stopped trade services with Iran, which previously was importing 30,000 tons of mangoes from Pakistan as a result the country has suffered a loss of $10 million for not exporting mangoes to Iran. Illegal trade or smuggling via land routes was not benefiting the country in terms of revenue, he said.

Exports to Australia also could not begin because of quarantine issue. Though Australian quarantine team had visited facilities and orchards in the country to check the quality of fruit for their market, no progress has been made in this regard. Ministry of Commerce and other concerned authorities, he said should approach authorities concerned to tap another highly value market.

Waheed Ahmed further said that exporters would focus on exports to Japan, Australia, South Korea, the US, Mauritius and Lebanon markets, therefore initiatives be taken to uplift the quality of Pakistani mangoes to increase exports. Pakistan was presently exporting mango to at least 40 countries of the world including Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Island, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Kuwait, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Lebanon and others. The varieties commercially exported from Pakistan include: Sindhri, Sunhaira, Fajri, Began Phali, Summar Chaunsa, Black Chanusa and White Chaunsa.  Source BR

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