There is a sweetness in the air and an aromatic buzz in town. The number of shoppers at the sprawling fruit and vegetables market in Mawaleh has suddenly increased.
Pakistani mangoes have arrived, led by what is colloquially called ‘King Chaunsa,’ one of the best varieties of mango found around the world.
Following in the footsteps of the ‘Alphonso,’ the popular Indian variety of mango that hits Omani markets first — from April to July every year — Pakistani mangoes take Oman’s fruit shops by storm during the June to early September period.
While people wait anxiously for their favorite fruit, Pakistani mangoes come in great variety and taste. Chaunsa is proudly accompanied by the equally illustrious and popular varieties of Sindhri, Anwar Ratol, Dusehri, Langra, Fajri and Lal Badshah. Fruit vendors in the Mawaleh market are reporting roaring business.
“I want six gift packs of Chaunsa and make sure I get the freshest and spotless pieces,” a company executive wanting to please his clients tells the sales staff at Zahrat Sunny Trading, a leading fruit importer from Pakistan at the Mawaleh market, known to supply Pakistani mangoes in cardboard gift packs.
Jahangir Khan, the general manager of Zahrat Sunny Trading, has been in business since 1999 and is fully prepared for a busy season ahead.
“Oman received the first shipment of Pakistani mangoes in May this year. We are the only company that brings them by air, which gives us an edge over our competitors, who receive Pakistani mango varieties much later,” claimed Khan while talking to the Times of Oman.
Pakistan has had a bumper mango crop this year and its exports to the Gulf region are likely to increase. Its mango production is likely to cross 160,000 tonnes during this season due to an improvement in production amid better weather conditions. The country earns handsome foreign exchange through its mango exports to the world. In 2013, it shipped 165,000 tonnes of mangoes, valued at $60 million, compared with $38 million a year ago. After a poor 2015, Pakistan is expecting to earn $75 million from its mango exports.
While many fruit suppliers import Pakistani mangoes directly from Pakistan, some of them import it from the United Arab Emirates, which is a major centre for Pakistani fruits and vegetables in the region.
“The first crop of Pakistani mangoes comes to Oman from various parts of Sindh, led by Sindhri, which is a popular choice for milk shake. The next shipment comes when mangoes in Rahim Yar Khan are ready, followed by the last crop from Multan. This will help expand the tenure of their presence in Oman by a little this year,” Khan explained.
Some supermarkets which import mangoes by air will offer Chaunsa but at comparatively higher prices than those selling shipped varieties. The Al Dassar Supermarket in Ruwi, the Lulu hypermarkets and Zahrat Sunny Trading are some of the places where better varieties of Pakistani mangoes are available.
By Shahzad Raza