ISLAMABAD, Sept 29: Mango export witnessed more than 20 per cent decline this year than last year as Pakistan received the lowest per kg rate for its mango in the international market due to poor quality.
Sources in the Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board (PHDEB) told Dawn on Monday that by the end of August, the country had exported 79,000 tons of mango, 36,000 tons less than 115,000 tons exported till the end of August 2007.
Of the total shipments, 58,000 tons was sent by ship and 21,000 tons by air to major destinations, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UK.
The drop in export is being attributed to high domestic price. The country had to export “out-graded” fruit this year due to decline in production owing to which its per kg price remained the lowest in the international market and far behind its Indian competitor, an official in the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (Minfal) told Dawn.
Lack of proper post-harvest handling is yet another reason of poor quality of Pakistani mango as farmers were not able to properly determine the fruit maturity time.
A PHDEB official said that slow pace of export continued throughout the current month as well and that exports could hardly touch the figure of 90,000 tons at the end of the season compared to 120,000 tons exported last year.
Minfal believes that new awareness plans about international requirements, including Global GAP certification needed to be launched.
It says efforts should be made to develop pack-houses on modern lines and provide cool-chain facilities to avoid huge post-harvest losses.
Farmers also need to be trained in fruit maturity determination by using maturity guide, refractometers and visual observation of fullness of cheeks and skin appearance.
Pakistan’s fruit exports, during the fiscal year 2007-08, surged by 27 per cent in terms of value and 20 per cent in terms of volume despite multifarious irritants faced by the fruit exporters during the export process and non-cooperative attitude by foreign shipping lines operating their services between Pakistan and different destinations across the globe.
During the previous fiscal year of 2006-07, quantity of fruit export was 343.424 tons, with a value of $113.635 million.
During 2007-08, it grew to 413.726 tons with a net value of $144.676 million, depicting an increase of up to 27 per cent during the period.