Export of mango, the second largest fruit crop of Pakistan, was badly hit by the ravages of floods, according to Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Company (PHDEC). Mango production projection for the year 2010 was 1.8 million tons and it was estimated that out of this, 150,000 tons would be exported. However, it has been documented that the export target has not been fully accomplished, and a shortfall of about 20,000 tons has been recorded by the end of the mango export season. Besides entering into the new markets of China, Germany and Malaysia, PHDEC has initiated work to meet the export procedure requirements of United States, Australia and Lebanon. It has high hopes that mango industry will be at high demand in the years to come.
Pakistani mango ranks at fourth position among the largest mango producing countries of the world. Mango harvest in Pakistan starts with relatively less popular varieties from end of April and exports start from end of May when the largest produced variety, Sindhri begins in Sindh and lasts till early October when the high demand variety, white Chaunsa, ends in Punjab. Other promising mango varieties with high export potential are Samar Bahisht and Chaunsa, which is largely produced in Punjab. A PHDEB spokesman explained that mango from Pakistan is exported through sea, air and land routes. The shortfall in mango export target is mainly because of increase in freight charges by the airlines and floods in mango production districts ie Muzaffargarh, Bhakar, Rajan Pur, Layyah, D.G.Khan and Rahim Yar Khan of Punjab.
In some areas, floods resulted in complete loss of fruit while in others transportation and blockage of land routes were the major hurdles in getting the fruit to the sea, air and land terminals. PHDEC and other allied agencies have started working on rehabilitation of mango orchards, so that the impact of floods could be minimised over the next year`s mango crop. Technical inputs, free advice and other necessary remedial procedures have been driven for the welfare of mango growers in Punjab and Sindh. The Agriculture Sector Linkages Programme (ASLP) mango supply chain management project under the auspices of PHDEC has already been implemented to address the key constraints limiting the mango business in Pakistan.
The project has built capacity of delivering better quality mangoes in about 2,300 stakeholders all over Pakistan besides delivering research outcomes on product quality improvement and existing and new potential markets of Pakistani mangoes. During the current year, 11 on-farm workshops on mango quality improvement (harvest maturity determination, harvesting techniques, de-sapping, field, sorting, grading and packing) were conducted in Rahim Yar Khan, Multan and Hyderabad with the collaboration of Departments of Agriculture Punjab (Fruit & Vegetable Development Project) and Sindh. The participants included mango growers, commission agents, contractors, harvesting and packing labour and support service providers.
Another two training workshops, one each in Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) and Sindh Horticulture Research Institute (SHRI), were conducted on delivering best quality mangoes to customer in domestic and international markets. The participants included: faculty members of SAU, research staff of SHRI, MS/PhD students and skill development internees.