ISLAMABAD: The United States has reiterated its pledge to strengthen the local mango industry by removing constraints and strengthening key mango chain players.
Addressing the stakeholders from Punjab and Sindh at the Second Annual Mango Conference ‘Reaching New Export Destinations’ on Tuesday, USAID Mission’s Deputy Head in Pakistan Karen Freeman said the agency had been working with farmers to introduce new opportunities and technologies that would facilitate the development of mango industry.
She added that with assistance of the agency progressive mango farmers were now exporting the fruit to high-end international markets at competitive prices.
“The US mango programme is the turning point in the history of Pakistani mango exports and industry,” she said, hoping that the day is not far when joint efforts would make this exquisite fruit across the globe in high-end markets, earning greater revenues and acclaim for Pakistani farmers.
Syed Fakhr Imam, a former speaker of the National Assembly and a beneficiary of the USAID mango project, urged scientists to develop methods for the chemical control of fungal diseases, which have been playing havoc with mango trees.
Imam, who chaired the concluding session of the conference, suggested that satellite mapping of mango growing areas should be carried out to establish the plant density per hectare. Pakistan has about 5 tons per acre production of mangoes.
During the three technical sessions, the conference discussed orchard management practices, increasing per acre yield, establishment of cold chains, infrastructure development and market demands, post-harvest management techniques, market demands and sea shipment export protocols, and development of indigenous mango varieties production.
The US assistance to Pakistan’s mango industry began in 2009 with a series of programmes meant to boost productivity and sales.