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Improved marketing of mango exports

Improved marketing of mango exports

Mango exporters are set to start foreign sales with hope of earnings this season exceeding that of last year. While the importing countries are in no mood to compromise on quality, well-established exporters are eager to match the buyers’ expectations.

Pakistan has set this season’s mango export target at 120,000 tonnes, up from last year’s less than 91,000 tonnes. And the leading exporters are upbeat about meeting this target despite the recent ban on the use of wooden crates in export shipments. They are pinning hopes on demand from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK and China and are confident to do well even in Europe where competition this year is stiffer after lifting of a ban on imports of Indian mangoes.

With the trend of on-line marketing catching up and with better grading and packaging services now available with leading fruit export houses, market sources say, earnings from mango exports this year should touch $75m, up from about $60m last year.




They say small exporters from across the country are still sending mangoes in wooden crates to leading exporters in Karachi, where these are being repacked in fiber cardboard boxes. Chairman of Mango Growers Cooperative Society Zahid Hussain says the inter-city transportation of mangoes in wooden crates carries the risk of affecting the quality of fruits and should also be banned.

And, according to market sources, many of them would surely switch over to globally acceptable packaging from the next year because they are selling their fruits for exports through third parties at discounted prices. Small exporters should have started using cardboard boxes from this year had the ban on the use of wooden crates come earlier allowing them time to arrange supply of cardboard boxes.

Leading mango exporters say exports had reached close to 91,000 tonnes last year, against the five-year average of 85,000 tonnes partly because the fruit quality had been preserved and grading improved after coming on line of more than a dozen hot water treatment plants in Punjab and Sindh. That had also resolved the perennial fruit fly issue.

The mango producing districts where these plants set up with the USAID assistance, helped boost exportable surplus included Multan, Khanewal, Lodhran, Nawabshah, Hyderabad and Kotri. “In all these places, the damage to mangoes by fruit flies have been contained, says a Karachi-based exporter, adding that this will help boost exports this year.

For the current season, the production of mango is expected to remain almost unchanged at the last year’s level of 1.75m tonnes or slightly increase, officials say, adding that during last five years the mango output has shown a modest decline chiefly due to lesser area under its cultivation. “Mango crop can now be divided clearly into two groups — the first belonging to owners of large orchards who are also exporters, and the other owned by small producers who sell the whole crop in advance to investors-traders,” says an official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

“We continue to see a modest increase in per-hectare yield of the first kind of plantations, owned by big orchard owners that is, however, often offset by a decline in the other group of orchards owned by small farmers.. That keeps the national average yield in the range of 9.5-10 tonnes per hectare.”

Punjab, with roughly 70pc share in total production, was able to boost its per-hectare yield to 11 tonnes last year, officials say, because of investment in orchard care and trees’ protection by owners-cum-exporters. But in Sindh, where about 25pc of mangoes are produced, has failed in increasing the yield that stood slightly below 10 tonnes per-hectare last year.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research warned exporters the other day that mangoes being exported to the US, Australia, Japan, Korea and European Union would be subject to vigorous quarantine inspections so they ought to be careful in maintaining the acceptable quality of their fruits.

But market insists that the role of the government in promoting mango exports is not encouraging recounting details of how individual exporters have successfully made inroads in Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh and some other countries with very little support from the government.

Officials of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association say a recent visit of a four-member Chinese delegation to Punjab Board of Investment and Trade has raised hopes of higher mango shipments to that country. A Chinese company engaged in mango imports from India and Philippines is going to start imports of Pakistani mangoes right from this season.

Published in Dawn, Economic & Business, May 18th, 2015

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