KARACHI: The export of mango during the current season has increased by 42pc when compared with the last year, said Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Ashraf in a post-season seminar on mangoes held at the Federation House on Monday.
The seminar was organised by PHDEC in collaboration with the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) to take stock of the outgoing mango season and to formulate a prudent strategy for the next season.
More than 100 stakeholders, including mango growers, processors, exporters, freight forwarders and air freight carriers, participated in the event. Representatives from the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Department of Plant Protection, Pakistan Customs and provincial agriculture departments were also present on the occasion.
“We have witnessed a record mango export season this year. More than 115,000 tonnes of mangoes have so far been exported to 57 countries and the season could end up witnessing around 120,000 tonnes of mango export, an all-time record for Pakistan,” Muhammad Ashraf stated.
He appreciated the exporters for sustaining their exports in the existing markets and, at the same time, exploring new markets for Pakistani mangoes.
He said it was encouraging that the share of Pakistani mango in the premium-priced markets like the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Belgium and Netherlands was increasing steadily. Moreover, he added, Pakistani mango was diversifying its market coverage and was rapidly penetrating into the Central Asian market, which constituted 16pc of Pakistan’s mango exports (a growth of 38pc in 2019 when compared with last year).
Speaking on the occasion, PFVA Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmedof said that Pakistan’s horticulture exports were on the upward trajectory, adding that horticulture has the potential to take export volume from the current level of $750 million into billions of dollars.
He highlighted the issues in the entire mango supply chain, including harvesting, post-harvest handling and infrastructure deficit – absence of cold storage facilities at the airports and gaps in marketing.
“Since the mango consumer in the global market is becoming more and more quality conscious, we need to work more on product development than marketing,” he said. “The infrastucture at airports may be developed for adequate handling of produce.”
Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Senior Vice President Mirza Ikhtiar Beg pointed out that the total cost of mango export was high, which needed to be rationalised.
Department of Plant Protection Director Dr Tariq Khan emphasised the need to adopt quality assurance measures so that international horticulture trade could not become a pathway to spread plant diseases across the borders.
“We need to adopt a systematic approach for pest management since the SPS requirements of the countries are evolving and that Pakistan should follow a dynamic response system to meet these requirements,” he added.
The participants appreciated the PHDEC and PFVA for organise such a meaningful consultative session immediately after the outgoing season.
They demanded the development of smart technologies for horticulture processing and increasing market access for Pakistani mango by negotiating mutual recognition agreements with the importing partners.