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HYDERABAD, July 10: Sindh’s mango has a lot of potential but some gaps in farming and export was coming in its way. These views were shared by the Australian farmers in a meeting on Tuesday with their Pakistani counterparts at the residence of Mehmood Nawaz Shah, Secretary General Sindh Abadgar Board.

They discussed the on-farm management of mangoes in the backdrop of lowest rates Pakistani mango fetched in international markets, even lower than the Indian fruit, Mr Shah said.

Production and quality can go a long way in capturing international markets for which research is needed, Australian farmers suggested.

Operations Manager of Australian High Commission’s Agriculture Sector Linkage Programme (ASLP) Dr Munawwar R. Kazmi and progressive farmers Zain Shah, Ghulam Sarwar Abro and Haji Nadeem Shah attended the meeting.

Representatives of Australian Mango Industry Association Peter Delis and Ian Baker spoke at length on mango farming. The two are part of the ASLP which is working here since 2005 and will continue for another three years.

They laid stress on proper coordination between the farmers of two countries in regard to mango business including its market-related issues. Export, they said, was an entirely separate business.

They advised the Sindh farmers to first identify research and development areas and then take on board the stakeholders, including the government.

SAB official identifying weaknesses in mango farming said that exporters dump their fruit in Middle Eastern markets due to export-related issues.

He agreed to a suggestion to hire farm experts for pinpointing and advising shortfalls after visiting different farms.

However, local farmers suggested approaching Pakistan Science Foundation and Export Development Fund for assistance in regard to dealing with the problems such as soil profile of orchards.

“Farmers of Sindh are on the right track and they can venture in export of mango”, Peter Delis told Dawn. Practices adopted by farmers here are already being pursued in other countries.

Farmers need to hire a coordinator for dealing with export, port, quarantine and customs issues if they intend exporting the fruit, he said.

Dr Kazmi advised the farmers to share their experience with researchers as they were not getting any feedback on mango shipment.

“We are here to explore new ideas as part of the ASLP”, said Ian Baker. “Farmers are changing their way of farming. This is our first visit and we will be paying at least five more visits.”