KARACHI - Almost 70 per cent mango crop in Punjab has been damaged by climatic hazards, causing shortage of the fruit in the local markets. Following this shortage, an unusual jump in the price of mango is also being observed in the country.

The damages to crop in Punjab which produces 65 per cent of the fruit has also risked target of exports this year as the country is unlikely to meet exports target of 0.1 million during this season.

According to Waheed Ahmed, Chairman Research and Development, Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA), Pakistani horticultural sector has become most vulnerable to global warming and other climatic changes and, to effectively deal with this ever-worsening situation, the government is needed to take required steps on emergency basis. The prevailing situation, he said, is feared to pose irreparable damages to agricultural sector ultimately creating a threat to national food security.

He said that the hot weather apparently as a result of global warming is an alarming situation for agricultural products. The unusual cold weather in winter season also poses threat to various crops.

According to him, the growers, traders and exporters associated with mango crop have faced billions of rupees losses following the fresh damages to the fruit.

The country has so far exported 41000 tons mango with estimated revenue of $22.55 million in this season. Mango was mainly exported to UAE, Gulf States, Central Asian states, EU, Australia, US and Canada. PFVA was doing all its best to meet the target but the jump in price of mango by 25 percent in the local market was making the goal difficult this year.

Pakistani mango was being sold at increased price in international market because of its better quality and enhanced demand in the holy month of Ramazan.

The exporters were selling mango at average price of $550 per ton as compared to the price of $300 per ton received by them last year. Despite good demand and better price in the international market, the target was difficult to meet this year due to the damaged crop.

Waheed has requested the federal government to take emergency measures in coordination with provincial governments to minimize the losses to agricultural sector which is backbone of national economy.

It is feared that the country may be forced to import many agricultural items in case it fails to make strategy to deal with the threats of global warming and other climatic hazards.