ISLAMABAD

Federal Government is taking necessary steps to introduce small hot water treatment plants at farm level as well as encouraging private sector to establish commercial facility centres for hot water treatment in mango producing areas of the country.

Government also launching a project to control mango fruit fly and introduction of hot water treatment units in the mango areas. This was stated by Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFSR) while speaking on the occasion of demonstration of small-scale mango hot water treatment unit at Multan.

Sikandar said that fruit fly attack on mango is a serious issue. Due to fruit fly infestation our mango export has a big challenge to operate in European Union and threat of ban due to fruit fly always hovers around us. We are still practicing traditional mango harvesting and processing methods except few modern mango processing facilities. Due to lack of proper mango processing plants including hot water treatment plants, quality of mango exported by bulk exporters is not up to the required standards.

Sikandar Bosan said to enter into the export domain of USA and Japan, exporters require a high level of entrepreneurship, market demands, awareness of processing, packaging techniques and plant technologies, adaptation to modern refrigeration methodologies, and conforming to quality standard set out by different importing countries for import of mangoes.

He said Government of Pakistan will prefer to shrink mango export rather than allow uncertified fruit to European Union and induce ban. He said UNIDO is doing its job to enhance mango export and at the same time making efforts to reduce fruit fly infestation in partnership with Ministry of National Food Security and Research for introducing small scale mango hot water treatment plants.

He said we are planning to distribute 10 more such plants to different clusters of mango growers. Small growers should benefit from small hot water treatment plant and get rid of fruit fly infestation and other diseases. Farmers should farm clusters of 4 growers and use this plant.

He said mango is the second major fruit crop in Pakistan in terms of areas, production and export volume. Mango is cultivated on 172400 hectares, last year we exported 6pc of total production and earned $48 million. The major mangoes export destinations for Pakistan are Middle East, Far East and EU markets. He further said that characterising of the Pakistan mango market on the supply side is the high level of fragmentation. Pakistan is 5th major producer of mango in world and within Pakistan, Punjab is main mango producing areas with 77pc of mango production.

Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) highlighted PARC mango research and value chain initiatives. He said PARC on the directive of Federal Ministry of National Food Security and Research took initiative to develop mango hot water treatment units to meet international market requirement and to enhance the export of mango from Pakistan. These plants are necessary because the importing countries have strict requirements that mango fruit should be treated with hot water.

He said the plant is suitable farmers’ fields and even the mango growers with small holdings can treat their mango fruit by hot water treatment plant. This treatment will disinfest mango from fruit fillies and other diseases and farmers will be able to export quality mango and they can earn more profit and ultimately Pakistan can earn more foreign exchange.