June 11, 2014- BR Report
Mango exporters on Tuesday sought intervention of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister against unnecessary regulations that have stopped the export of mango to the European markets thus causing a loss of billions of rupees to the mango exporters.
A 10-member delegation of mango exporters comprising Bao Muhammad Hanif, Mohammad Ahmad, Syed Farhan, Arshad Ali, Wasim Ahmad, Bao Naveed and Husnain Butt had a detailed meeting with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Sohail Lashari and apprised him of the problem being faced by the mango exporters. LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar was also present on the occasion.
The mango exporters’ were of the view that it was not only the country that was suffering because of the wrong policy decision about the mango export but the jobs of thousands of workers attached with this business were also at stake. They informed the LCCI office-bearers that the policymakers have initiated action on wrong perception that has no link to the reality. They said that it was golden opportunity for the Pakistani mango exporters to capture European market as the Indian mango had already been banned in Europe for having Fruit-fly in it.
They feared that Pakistan would not be able to get back 800 million dollar market in case any third country enters into that market. They said that airlines, cargo agents, orchard owners, farmers, fruit traders, suppliers, transporters, exporters and European importers and hundreds of thousands of labour and above all packaging industry were badly suffering because of the regulations being imposed on the exporters. The mango exporters also severely criticised the condition of third party inspection of mango saying that the inspection has been awarded to those who have no knowledge of this business. They said that the third party inspection charges were also exorbitantly high and are immensely adding to the cost of doing business.
They said that if the third party inspection was necessary then it should be free of any sort of charges. They said that the importing countries including UK have no objection to Pakistani mangoes contrary to the restriction being imposed by the authorities in Pakistan.
They revealed that so far mango amounting to $80 million could not be exported because of monopoly of a few persons who got their orchards registered with the connivance of some government functionaries. They suggested that the new pack houses of international standards should be made in new fruit and vegetable market of Lahore for exporters, so that the real international standards could be adopted and the agricultural export of Pakistan could be enhanced.
The policy of rebate for fresh fruit and vegetable exporters should be revived for the sake of coverage of losses of exporters. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President said that the Lahore Chamber would make all out efforts to resolve the issues being faced by the mango exporters. The LCCI has long been calling for formulation of policies in consultation with the stakeholders but unfortunately no attention was being given towards its repeated requests. The policymakers should understand that their decisions were causing irreparable losses to the economy particularly at a time when the export of Indian mango is banned in the European market, he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the plant protection and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has put some restrictions on mango export to EU countries, one of them is mango should be exported after hot water treatment and the second one is mango can be exported from the certified orchids, which is approved by the government of Pakistan. The Punjab government has given the funds of Rs 2 billion for hot water treatment plant but the ministry has not shown any interest in the project, he added.