THE Sindh irrigation and forest departments have not achieved their target of tree plantation in the province. All nurseries of forest department were sold out before the coming season.
The mango, tomato and lemon season has begun and wood is used for packing these fruits. This wood is acquired legally or illegally from trees on roadside and near canals. These trees are cut illegally and sold to clients for making fruit cartons. Our trees have been decreasing every year because when wooden cartons are placed near mango trees, the fungus in the cartons affects the tree too.
Tando Allahyar is a good example of this where mango orchids were damaged owing to this fungus. These wooden cartons are not used for packing fruit in any province except Sindh. Instead, corrugated carton, which is cheaper, is used for this purpose.
The department of plant protection and the ministry of national food security and research have banned the use of wood for packing fruit and vegetables for exports since May 20, 2015.
Even for domestic markets, fruits, including grapes, apples, strawberry and cherries are packed in corrugated cartons so that, during cold storage, the development of fungus can be avoided.
The Sindh government should impose a ban on packing fruit in wooden cartons and instead encourage corrugated box packing for fruits such as mango, lemon and tomato.
Dr Abdul Rasheed Mashori
Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2019