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High air freight causing harm to mango industry

KARACHI (July 31 2007): High airfreight, besides restricting the export of mangoes, is also damaging Pakistan`s mango industry, according to a report prepared by Pakistani and Australian experts.

ustralia is assisting Pakistan under the Agriculture Sector Linkages Programme (ASLP) to overcome constraints currently limiting competitiveness of supply chains for Pakistan and Australian mangoes with particular emphasis on how Pakistani mango growers could create and capture increased value from supply chains to which they belong.

The purpose of the overall ASLP was to build linkages between the agriculture sectors of Australia and Pakistan. With a total budget allocation of $5.5 million (6.6m AUD), over four years, ASLP has been structured into four components, ie, market linkages, Academic linkages, agriculture linkages, and linkages programme review.

At workshops held at different places in Punjab in collaboration with Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board (PHDEB) recently, an Australian mango export case study was designed to actively engage the participants in the examination and evaluation of an Australian mango chain that is focused on Singapore.

According to details available here on Monday, Australian mangoes are coming to Singapore by air and the airfreight in comparison is cheaper than sea freight. But both Pakistan and Australian experts believe that airfreight is damaging the Pakistan mango industry. Reduction of airfreight on mango was necessary for the sustainability of business, they said.

In Singapore, Indian mangoes were being preferred over Pakistani mangoes on the basis of better keeping quality, aroma, and sound un-collapsed cartons upon the arrival of shipments. To cash on the potential of Pakistani mangoes in the world markets, the experts demanded consistent supply and quality.

Creating one or two models like `Australian Mango Supply Chain` in Pakistan, one at Multan and the other in Sindh was the real solution to the problem. Supply chain management is a process that results from a deliberate decision of members of a supply chain to co-operate in order to deliver superior consumer value in specific market segments. It is a competitive strategy based on an individual firm`s capabilities of innovation, efficiency, and flexibility that are enhanced through the presence of a common vision and a spirit of interdependency.

The participants were told that increased focus on more co-ordinated supply chains has been driven by:

-- Globalisation that has increased market access and as a result competition in domestic and markets has intensified.

-- The demands of consumers who require reliable and safe sources of food.

-- The demands of governments that food production and processing systems be sustainable.

There are two distinct types of participants in any supply chain:

-- Primary participants such as farmers, wholesalers and retailers, and

-- Facilitators such as logistic suppliers and financiers.

From a management perspective there are four components that need to be addressed: information exchanges, inter-firm relationships, product integrity, and financial flows. Under the market linkages, an agriculture market expansion feasibility mission would be organised to Pakistan for a bilateral trade and investment consortium of key Australian companies. Austrade will lead this mission. The anticipated outcomes from this commitment will be the links forged during the mission between commercial bodies and a report of each country`s commercial sector on market opportunities.

Similarly under the agriculture linkages, a programme of technical activities (up to three years duration) would be implemented. It would comprise of projects to build linkages between the agriculture sectors of the two countries.

This component constitutes the main thrust of ASLP. Within the context of technical and economic research and development (R&D) projects and project studies, analytical activities and staff exchanges would take place.

Targeted seminars to set priorities and communicate project results would also be conducted. The anticipated outcome is expanded links between the Australian and Pakistani agriculture sectors as well as practical impacts on the productivity and sustainability of agriculture in both countries.

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