MULTAN-Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture’s initiative to promote mango export amid COVID-19 won laurel as Pakistan International Airline (PIA) decided to reduce freight fares remarkably (no profit, no loss) in order to keep mango exports flourishing, which earlier were feared to drop in the wake of pandemic coronavirus.

Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUA) hold four online sessions with Mango growers/exporters and convinced them to follow complete SOPs regarding coronavirus during work in the orchards and MNSUA would help them for managing export of the fruit.

During a webinar, led by Vice Chancellor Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture and attended by CEO PIA Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Arshid Malik, Mr Tariq (GM Commercial Cargo, PIA), Ms Rabia Sultan (Mango Grower), Maj Retd Tariq Khan (Mango Grower), Syed Zahid Gardezi (Mango Grower), Prof Dr Irfan Baig (Dean MNSUA) and some other stakeholders, the meeting participants discussed different problems faced by the mango stakeholders in export of the exotic fruit.

Vice Chancellor Dr Asif Ali highlighted the bottlenecks, faced by mango exporters in the air lifting of the fruit with the top management of PIA. He unveiled development of series of previous meetings amid COVID-19 which aimed to ensure safe production, post-harvest, handling, labour safety protocols and mango export protocols.

The meeting participants especially mango growers and exporters apprised that they had captured different markets after incessant struggle during previous years. This year, they are faced with problems especially, the private airlines have increased cargo fares due to COVID-19 scenario and they were unable to export the mangoes. They feared that the country would lose foreign mango markets in case the fruit was not exported in the ongoing seasons.

Mango Grower Maj Retd Tariq stated that PIA should come forward and provide relief to growers/exporters by reducing freight fares. Responding to concerns of mango stakeholders, PIA CEO Vice Marshal Muhammad Arshid Malik decided to revised and reduced PIA freight fares for the mango exporters.

He also informed that PIA would share the flight schedule of one week with mango growers so that they could evolve shipment plan accordingly. CEO PIA also assured that he and his team was committed for the national cause and would continue to facilitate the exporters. According to Vice Chancellor Dr Asif Ali, Pakistan International Airline reduced freight fares for mango export to different markets including UK, Europe, Doha, Muscat, UAE, Kuwait, Jeddah, Dammam, Madina, Riyadh, Tokyo, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur. Mango stakeholders and academia hailed the significant facilitation by the PIA CEO, Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Arshid Malik and termed the initiative would surely help country in generating handsome foreign exchange.