Mango exports likely to drop this year due to coronavirus

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KARACHI: As the mango exports from Pakistan are expected to kick off with a delay and in apparently less quantity due to the coronavirus pandemic, the exporters have requested the officials to allow the labour from South Punjab to travel and work in mango orchards to save billions of rupees worth of yield.

In a statement issued on Sunday, former chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Agriculture Ahmad Jawad said Pakistan annually produces roughly 1.7 million tonnes of mangoes, which are exported to more than 50 countries, mainly to UAE and Saudi Arabia.

He said last year the country recorded five-year high mango exports of 115,000 tonnes and earned $80 million in foreign revenue.

Jawad fears low chances of mango exports especially from Sindh this year due to the COVID-19. “The mango harvesting season usually begins from May 15 in Sindh. Majority owners of mango orchards hire skilled labour from south Punjab for harvesting, grading, processing and packing of export quality mangoes.”

But due to COVID 19, there is no transport and the labourers could not travel so mango harvesting could likely to suffer, he said, Sindh sets the trend for mangoes exports.

“Similarly there’s hardly any availability of commercial flights to transport mangoes. The available cargo planes and freighters have got their costs tripled compared to normal rates. This has another impact to compete in the market, based on price,” Jawad said.

He urged that Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TAP) to come forward and help promote pulp industry for a long term gains from mangoes.

According to Jawad, the average shelf life of mango pulp is about two years and due to COVID-19 the government should extend loans on low interest rate to pulp industry and its exporters.

He also stressed the need to pay more attention to high value and huge potential promising markets of Japan, USA, South Korea and China to exploit potential.

Currently the mango exports are around 10-11 per cent, which could be further enhanced to 25pc if the ministry approve 50pc airfreight subsidy from the Export Development Fund to make exports more competitive, Jawad added.

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