KARACHI: After climate change related phenomena cut the country’s mango production in half, exporters have been forced to slash the export target by 25,000 tonnes to 125,000 tonnes for the current season, which is expected fetch around $106 million.
This year, mango production may be confined to 0.9m tonnes from 1.8m tonnes last year, according to All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association (PFVA) Patron in Chief Waheed Ahmed. He feared that exporters would face crises like shortage of electricity and diesel, an increase in cost of packaging processing and high freight charges to meet the export target.
Mid-March saw average temperatures between 37-42 degree, which severely damaged mango production. In contrast, the average temperatures during the previous season was recorded around 34 degree, Irrigation problems, water shortage due to blockage of canals, power load shedding and shortage of diesel during the season further deepened the climatic effects.
In a statement, Waheed said rupee depreciation, rising labor costs along with high tariff of electricity and gas have significantly multiplied the cost of processing mangoes. Packaging material prices have also gone up by 30pc since last season, making it quite difficult for mango exporters to compete in the international market.
Exorbitant increase in sea freight rates is also playing a significant role in making competition stiff for Pakistani mangoes. Last year, sea freight for the Gulf and Dubai were $1,900 per container as compared to current rate of $2,800-$3,000, he said.
Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2022