Mango is commonly called as king of fruits. Pakistani Mango is considered as the fruit of excellence and thus has a prominent position among the commercial fruits grown in Pakistan. It is the second major fresh fruit in Pakistan. Mango is a delicious fruit grown in slightly less than ninety tropical and sub-tropical countries in the world. The fruit is mostly eaten farm fresh as a dessert. It is also processed into preserves, juices, jams, jellies, nectars as well as crisp mango chips, which are eaten as snacks. Mango is an excellent source of vitamins A. B and C and contains water, proteins, sugar. fats, fibers and iron, etc. Pakistani Mangoes are mostly yellow in colour when fully ripe, have strong aroma and sweet in taste, no mango of any origin can compete in taste with the Pakistani Mango. As a tropical fruits, the mango has experienced tremendous development in recent years.
Pakistan is the 5th largest producer and the 3rd largest exporter of mango in the world. Its soil and climatic conditions enable production and market supplies of good quality fresh mango over a period of about 5 to 6 months. Pakistani mangoes therefore enjoy a prominent position in the international market.
Pakistan produces quite a few mango varieties (i.e.) Sindhri, Langra, Doshehri, Chaunsa, Kali Seroli, Bagan pali, Swarnarika, and Neelum. The Directorate of Plant Protection has temporarily waived off the requirement of getting Maximum Residual level tests of the mangoes produced by the registered orchards from Sindh for a week to facilitate export of mangoes to countries of the European Union. The test determines the scale of pesticide residuals left on the mature harvest of mangoes. The controlling authorities of EU and USA have placed acceptable scales of the residue of each pesticide over the surface of the mangoes. The exported consignments of the mangoes are not allowed to get an exit permit from the port if the fruit is contaminated with the pesticide beyond the acceptable scale.
The EU authorities take strict action of putting a ban on the import of such fruit items from the exporting country. Apart from the pesticide contamination, the EU and USA take strict against the exporting countries if they find any other insect infection over the surface of the mangoes. The Indian export of mangoes was banned last year by the EU after the consignments from there were found to be infected with fruit fly. Pakistan was a direct beneficiary of this ban and its exports rose to an all-time high to 93,000 tonnes. The target for the current year exports has been projected to be above 100,000 tonnes. Permission to ship the consignments without any prior testing however is quite concerning and risky for the exporters and the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The exports of Mangoes from Pakistan will have to face a complete ban in case of any breach in this regard.
The permission has been granted in the backdrop of delay in setting up the facilities for such testing anywhere in the country. The Director General of the department has however assured that the facilities for such tests will start operating within a week or so. The exporters have rightfully expressed their dismay over the delay. The concerned department needs to explain the causes of this delay and has to justify it otherwise the authorities should take corrective measures against those responsible for this neglect. The Directorate of plant protection has also hoped that the consignments will clear the MRL tests. The consequences of such optimism may be very harmful for the producers as well as the economy.
It remains to be seen whether the Directorate’s assurances that the facility of MRL testing will start functioning within a week or so turns out to be true or not. The other aspect which needs to be pondered on is the seriousness with which these countries protect their people, environment as well as flora and fauna to avoid any undesired consequences. The bureaucracy and the political leadership need to learn lessons from the efforts of these countries to protect their environment.