After the record high level of mango production in 2010, the current year is being slated as the most favourable for mango exports from Pakistan. The introduction of the fruit in the markets of Russia and China with the support of the Trade Development Authority (TDAP) reflects the high potential of mango production in the country. Moreover, the fruit will be exported to the US market in bigger quantities after receiving an appreciable response from its introduction there last year.
According to an expert analysis, as explained byAhmed Jawad, CEO Harvest Trading, the favourable weather conditions in Sindh and Punjab this year are a major reason for the good harvest.
As there have been much concern over the disease-hit mango plantations in Sindh; GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certified growers report that no major viral attacks have hit the crop in lower Sindh, while there have been some cases in upper Sindh. The lower Sindh region is famous for its export-quality mango production.
However, non-GAP certified growers have a different view. They hold the long winters and short spring as an abnormal climatic condition for the crop, besides various other crop syndromes. Situations like cutting of trees for clearing the area for other cash crops in a bid to earn more money is also a point of worry for these orchard owners. The argument regarding long winters is termed by the GAPceritified growers as favouring the fruit.
The divided opinions of orchard owners point to the significance of modern agricultural practices. GAP is an initiative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) which is working to expand the mango industry in Pakistan by introducing modern farming methods. So far, 21 mango farms have qualified for GAP certification.
The certification requires application of standardised phytosanitary requirements, which include operational protocols, pre-clearance inspections and irradiation. The provision of certified nurseries and technical assistance to mango growers has resulted in improved quality in production and disease-free mangoes.
These modern practices promote high density mango farming, as the yield per acre is enhanced by the increased number of trees per acre as opposed to the current practice of a limited number of plants in many areas.
The mango growers are receiving support from the Agribusiness Support Fund, while
the establishment of a centre of excellence for mangoes in Punjab in collaboration with USAID is another indication of efforts being made to enhance mango exports.
A diverse range of mango species comes from each province of Pakistan. Sindh yields Sindhri, Gulabkhas, Swarnarice, Baganpilli, Collector and Neelum. Punjab is the producer of the widest range, from Malda, Langra and Anwar Ratol to Aman Duseri, Fajri Kalan and Sensation.
Khyber Pakhtunnkhwa offers the unique taste of Lengra and Samer Bahisht, while Balochistan plays a significant role by producing Sindhri and Banganpalli. The overall mango production in Pakistan is a matter of pride for the Pakistanis everywhere.
Pakistan has the potential to export about 30 to forty percent of the world’s mangoes. This is much more than the domestic need, as opposed to the current export of only five percent of total production in the country. If this can generate revenues of over $61 million, then higher exports would mean much higher foreign exchange earnings