Pakistan has started its mango exports with a bang. The mango export season has begun on May 20, and the country has exported around 2200 tons of mangoes, fetching around $1.2 million dollars for the country. Mainly, this first batch of exports is heading towards United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Central Asian countries and other Gulf States.
According to Waheed Ahmed of Pakistan Fruits and Vegetable Association (PFVA), this season Pakistani mangos are being exported for about $500 per ton compared to $250 per ton last year.
This year, production of mangoes in the country has been forecasted to 1.8 million tons out of which 0.1 million tons are targeted for exports. According to (PFVA), the country is expected to earn $60 million in revenue this year compared to $48 million recorded last year by exporting 94,000 tons of mangoes.
Pakistan is the worlds fifth largest mango producer and it ranks second after India in South Asia.
Even though, Mango is the second important fruit crop in Pakistan after citrus, it has always been neglected not only by the government but also by the mango exporters themselves.
The major hurdle which Pakistani mango export has faced over the year is the issue of the fruit fly which has become a major nuisance for the industry. However, this year the sector has added close to 29 hot water treatment plants to deal with the problem of fruit fly.
Another, important issue which has been addressed by the government this year is to completely ban the use of wooden boxes for the export of mango. The decision to ban on wooden boxes came after growing complaints from the buyers. This substandard wooden packaging not only alters the quality of the fruit, but the fruit also gets infected by the pests more easily. According to the Department of Plant Protection, the exporters have been advised multiple times in the past to stop the usage of the wooden box for packaging the fruit but these reminders have fallen on deaf ears.
Nevertheless, the government waited to ban the wooden packaging completely right before the start of mango export season which has created significant issues for the small exporters who depend largely on big exporters for their packaging needs. This sudden shift in policy also created hurdles for the importers of Pakistani mangoes in the Middle East and created uncertainties. No doubt its a good step to ban the wooden boxes for packaging but the timing could have been better.