LAHORE: Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Horticulture and Processed Food Exports, Ahmad Jawad, said that Pakistani mangoes not only sweeten the economy but also provide jobs to millions of people from farms to export houses.
With production of two million tons every year, Pakistan exports only around 5% of its production only, he told a delegation. Jawad said Pakistan mangoes have the capability but we lack in the required infrastructure interims of processing plants to increase the export of mangoes.
Ministry of National Food & Security (MNSFR) may introduce Small Hot Water Treatment (SSHWT) Units for the treatment of the fruit fly Infestation in the producing hubs on priority which will also be a cost effective for the growers and small exporters to increase mango exports.
Presently there are only three Hot Water Treatment (HWT) plants in Pakistan, two are private and one is a public-private joint venture. Though these plants are meeting all standard quarantine requirements. The country, therefore, needs to increase its capacity for HWT treatment by installing more plants in various parts of the country immediately. Hot water treatment is one of the three major treatments for mangoes, he said.
However VHT, Irradiation and large-scale HWT plants are very expensive and therefore Pakistani farmers and exporters cannot afford to install any of them. On the other hand most of the importing countries have made HWT mandatory for the mangoes to be imported from Pakistan
Jawad further told the commercial facilities for the HWT are located in Karachi, far from growers in Punjab and Sindh. Duplicating similar facilities is not a prudent approach due the huge cost this would incur.
As Hot water technology and processing by mechanical plants has increased the shelf life of the mango fruit up to 40 days by making the pulp of the fruit free from nine bacteria elements. Increase in shelf life of the fruit, it is believed, would help in increasing the export of Pakistani mangoes, earning more foreign exchange for the country and becoming instrumental in the expansion of its agro-based sector.
However on the export side, Pakistan’s focus has remained limited to exporting mangoes to the United Kingdom and some Middle Eastern countries. In the last three years, Pakistan has discovered new markets and exported its mangoes to a couple of new countries, including China, Jordan, Mauritius, South Korea, Japan and Lebanon. In addition to trial shipment of mango fruit to Australia, mango shows were also organized in Malaysia and Singapore last year.
With a little effort, experts believe, the country can appear as one of the leading mango exporting country on the globe. The major constraint to the expansion of market for Pakistani mangoes has been related to the country’s inability to supply competitively priced high quality mangoes in a significant and consistent manner, in keeping with the international standards and demands of the supermarket chains; he added.