KARACHI: All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association (PFVA) has set mango export target at 150,000 metric tons for the current season with estimated valuable foreign exchange earnings of $127.5 million.

Last year the export target of mango was set at 80,000 tons keeping in view the drastic significant negative impact on economy due to COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent logistics challenges, however due to an extra-ordinary demand of mangoes globally, the export was surged to 140,000 tons, generating valuable foreign exchange of $ 120 million.

Former chairman Waheed Ahmed informed that on one hand Pakistani mango industry of Rs. 100 billion is facing serious issues of climatic changes and scarcity of water while on other hand, limited flight operations, restrictions by numerous destinations on flights & higher air freights increases cost of export, contrary to the last year, the export of mangoes via sea this year faces stiff challenges due to shortage of reefer containers and high freight cost.

Of the total export volume of mangoes, 55 percent is exported by sea, 25 percent by land routes and 20 percent by Air.

The PFVA has urged the government to focus the markets like Russia and China having immense export potential and strongly recommended to conduct mango promotions for wide publicity of mangoes. “Our attention should be on high value markets such as Japan, USA, Australia, South Korea & China”, he added.

He stressed upon the need for an extensive Research & Development (R&D) to improve quality and cosmetic look of mango to get an easy access to these markets which have strong faith in “quality & impressive appearance” of the fruit. Waheed disclosed that climatic changes are having serious negative impacts on the crops of mangoes for the last five years resulting in shortage of mango production coupled with further addition of two weeks in the harvesting period of the mango crops and besides delay in maturity of the mango crops the resilient capability of mangoes against various diseases is also getting weakened.

Due to these factors, the current mango season is likely to witness significant drop in production of mangoes. The overall production of mangoes in the provinces of Sindh & Punjab is anticipated to be 1,800,000 tons, however due to effect of the climatic changes the possibility of reduction in production by 15 percent cannot be ruled out.

The comprehensive research process to evaluate serious impacts of climatic changes on mango crops as well other major crops has not yet been initiated which could have otherwise provided guidance to the farmers & growers and advice for precautionary measures to curtail low productivity and reduce financial losses.

The PFVA has already shared with the Federal & Provincial Government, it’s comprehensive and realistic research & development plan being an integral part of the “Horticulture Vision-2030”, a road map developed by the PFVA for the uplift of the Horticulture sector & by implementation of this vision in letter & spirit, the effect of the climatic changes can be drastically minimized.

Waheed emphasized that in order to accomplish the mango export target - cohesive team work, support, cooperation and co-ordination among all stakeholders including Department of Plant Protection (DPP), Customs, Sea, and Airport authorities is imperative.