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Training conducted to streamline mango supply chain

LAHORE (June 29 2008): The Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board and scientists from Australia and Agriculture University of Faisalabad have conducted a series of training programmes to streamline the supply chain of mangoes.

`There were two objectives of this exercise, including enhancing the shelf-life of the fruits, and improving the quality and presentation of our products to access high-value markets like Europe and the United States,` Chief Executive Officer Shamoon Sadiq told Business Recorder on Saturday.

He said the programme was carried out under the Austrlia-Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Programme. The Australian delegation arrived in Pakistan on June 15 and stayed till June 25. Different training programme were conducted by trainers on different subjects like supply chain management and the role of consumers: What do consumers want? Measuring quality of mango; Practices to minimise quality loss at harvest stage; and managing the cool chain to minimise quality loss.

The PHDEB and ASLP arranged on-farm training programmes on mango quality improvement (maturity determination, harvesting, desapping and packing) in Sindh and Punjab in different mango farms, and indoor demonstration was also conducted at 43rd Mango Festival Mirpur Khas to give maximum awareness to the farmers and exporters communities, he maintained.

More than 350 people were trained in the on-farm workshops, who were engaged in preparation of commercial consignments either for domestic or export markets, while about 250 people were given demonstration in the mango festival. Whole procedure was displayed by movie for the viewers at festival.

The activity focus was to train the trainers (extension wing of department of agriculture) and the on-farm labour involved in undertaking the complete procedure. A range of trainees (academia, research, extension, growers, exporters, contractors, commission agents and farm labour) attended and learned about the processes involved for the improvement of quality of mango.

The trainees (farmers & exporters) were given training on fruit maturity determination by use of maturity guide, refractometer, and rough estimate by visual observation of fullness of cheeks and skin appearance. The fruit, if not mature enough or becomes over mature, will have shorter shelf life compared with fruit harvested at proper level of maturity.

Farmers were told to harvest the fruit along with about four to six inches stem to avoid the flow out of sap, which, if comes out at any stage before proper de-sapping, can deteriorate the appearance of the fruit itself and of its surrounding fruits. The harvesting along with stem can be done by specialised harvesting poles (provided by PHDEB) and secateurs. They were also told that how to manage the temperature, at least for consignments for high-end markets, by managing harvest early in the morning followed by de-sapping and placing in shade in daytime and transportation in the evening.

Fruit de-sapping, which is very important to get better return and even to get access to relatively high end markets, was taught to be conducted in different methods. The best available and efficient method for fruit de-sapping is lime treatment, in which the fruit harvested along with stem are de-stemmed and dipped in 0.5 percent lime solution for about two minutes followed by washing in clean water and air-drying.

Fruit packing is another important area, which was addressed in an independent activity of ASLP Mango Supply Chain Management Project, It has a vital role in fruit presentation at consumer`s end. The activity audiences were trained in fruit packing in reference to the longevity of its shelf life and the quality and manufacturing issues of packing material were also discussed, Shamoon said.

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