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94,000 tons mango exports fetch $31.33 million

KARACHI (August 09 2007): Pakistan has earned $31.33 million till July 31, 2007 by exporting 94,000 tons mangoes to United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Far Eastern countries and Europe.

Sources in Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Board (PHDEB) told Business Recorder on Wednesday that the country had achieved almost 75 percent of its 120,000 tons mango exports target.

They said that this year mango exports were started on May 20, 2007 and may end by September 15. About production of the mango crop, sources said that it might come to around 1.6 million tons this season, out of which 0.12 million tons, worth $39.99 million, may be exported, which would be a mere 7 percent of total output.

Sources said that UAE has been top importer of Pakistani mangoes with 45, 000 tons, worth $14.99 million, followed by Saudi Arabia with 16,000 tons, worth $5.33 million.

According to sources, 15,500 tons mangoes, worth $5.16 million were exported to the Gulf countries like Iran, Oman, Muscat, Kuwait, etc, while 11,500 tons, worth $3.83 million, went to the United Kingdom.

They said mango exports to European countries like France, Germany, Norway, etc, amounted to 4,000 tons, which fetched $1.33 million worth, and the rest 2,000 tons mangoes, worth $0.66 million, had gone to the Far Eastern states like Singapore, Malaysia, etc.

Sources said the country had two months viz August and September ahead to achieve the export target, which was increased by 20,000 tons with an additional worth of 6 million dollars this year.

Referring to the monthly `Friday Meetings` of PHDEB with mango exporters, which was held on August 3 last, sources said that participants of the meeting expressed their satisfaction over mango exports to Europe as per new `weight standardisation` rules and urged Islamabad to extend the application of new laws to other countries, too.

They said that the exporters were appreciative of the new rules and asked the government to ensure the implementation of new laws more strictly, adding that in the wake of tough competition world-wide Pakistan should focus on infrastructure development, which covers plucking, pre-cooling, treatment, packing and logistics.

The meeting also urged the growers and exporters of the `king of fruits` to use latest technology, coupled with proper technical know-how, to make the perishable produce more qualitative, sources said.

Future of mango export is bright, as the newly promulgated rules on the weight standards and fixation of exporting date by Islamabad were decisive to avoid irregularities in the export process, the meeting observed.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Iqbal, Chief Operating Officer (COO), PHDEB, said that efforts were underway to create better marketing conditions for Pakistani mango in the world in general and in Europe in particular.

`We have kicked off promotion of mango exports in Germany by displaying it in the superstores, and the same would be done in other European countries soon`, he said.

About reasons behind low quantity mango exports to Europe, he said: `Reasons are not concerned with the issues like quality standards set by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or EurepGap (European retailers protocol for good agricultural practices) but they are related to the logistics problems`. He said: `Besides higher airfreight for mango export to Europe the cargo aircraft has low capacity as compared to that of the ships, which are used for exports to the Middle Eastern countries.

`Less capacity in the aircraft and higher freight rates minimise the quantity of mango exports to Europe`, he added. `What they (Europeans) want us to ensure is the application of EurepGap from growing to exporting stage and certified farms and orchards`, Iqbal said.

`We are going to audit certification of EurepGap in Punjab by the end of August and would soon make it possible in Sindh`, he added. It may be recalled that the ministry of commerce had introduced new amendments {S.R.O 397 (1)/2007} in the Export Policy Order, 2006 to ensure a better value of the Pakistani produce in European markets and clear the image of country across the globe.

Being encouraged by the new set of rules about packaging and weight variations the mango exporters had demanded of the ministry of commerce to also introduce legislation on the standardisation of the quality of commodities.

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