Call to raise mango export production to significant level

LAHORE; Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s (FPCCI) Chairman Standing Committee on Horticulture & Processed Food Exports, Ahmad Jawad said we are all feeling jittery about the upcoming mango season, as Pakistan’s mango industry remains undeveloped.

Addressing a session on Wednesday, Jawad said Pakistan is the world’s fifth largest mango producer and is ranked as second after India in South Asia. Yet it seems that nobody wants to care about it, “but hats off to Fauji Fresh and Freeze Ltd who set up a modern facility in Punjab and this year it’s expected that they will ship 500 tons of mangoes to Japan”. Indeed a good start; he added.

Even the country’s mango export numbers are questionable. One source talked about that we closed at $60 million in last season, whereas other claimed about $45 million. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) publicly available export data isn’t broken down at commodity level, whereas central bank’s latest statistical periodical also doesn’t reveal the quantum of mangoes exported by the country.

As Pakistan produces around 1.8 million tons of mango annually but it only exports 4-5 percent of its total production. Last year Pakistan exported 90,714 tons of mangos officially. Officials at Ministry of National Food Security and Research stated that they are making arrangements for exporting 120,000 tons in 2015, i.e. a growth of more than 30 percent.

However, growth may be difficult to achieve. Jawad said that this year Pakistan will face strict competition from India, one of the world’s largest mango exporters, in tapping the European market. Indian mangoes were banned because theeir shipments were found to contain fruit flies. But since that ban has now been lifted, Indian mangoes can be expected to give competition against Pakistan.

He argues that competition with India is not the issue because Indian mango season starts in late March while Pakistani starts in late May and stays till October. He adds that Pakistani mangoes are better in taste and are popular even Indians and Europeans also demand Pakistani mangoes.

“We must know that setting a target is one thing; planning and taking the right action is another. It is a long held view that Pakistani mangoes taste is better than those in the region, but the country is still unable to export even a quarter of its production,” he remarked.

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