PESHAWAR-Pakistan, during the current season, has attained higher mango export target by exporting 125,000 tonnes, fetching valuable and much needed foreign exchange of $72 million despite numerous issues arising of the global COVID -19 Pandemic. Keeping stiff challenges of the global pandemic, the mango export target was set at 80,000 tonnes, however All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association (PFVA) effectively managed to increase the export target to 45,000 tonnes by adopting aggressive strategy coupled with timely decisions taken by the federal Government. In the upcoming one and a half months, an additional mango export of 25,000 tonnes is expected. This was stated by All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed. Talking to APP, Waheed Ahmad said the current mango season was one of the most difficult seasons in the history of mango export, however the Association translated the stiff challenges of the coronavirus pandemic into a unique opportunities by adopting appropriate and realistic strategies including switching export of mangoes to sea and land routes after the Airlines had shut down flight operations.   

Prior to the commencement of the current mango season, the entire world was engulfed with the global pandemic of coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns as a precautionary measure led to closure of Super Stores and markets while demand of foods drastically reduced due to suspension of flights by the Airlines creating logistic issues. In the backdrop of these stiff challenges, when the mango export started, it was confronted with very serious problems. On one hand there were serious logistic issues while on other hand people confined to their homes due to the global lock down, were badly in need of food items particularly high nutrition food, the mango being on top of that list due to its high nutrition value, effective in combating against the deadly pandemic, Waheed stated.  

Taking timely advantage of this unique opportunity, President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi convened a special meeting in the President House and decided to launch an aggressive promotion of Pakistani mangoes through Pakistani missions abroad by sending “gift of mangoes” to all head of states with a view to improve diplomatic ties with these states. In light of this decision, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) during this year conducted mango promotion-related activities in 24 cities of the world through Pakistani missions abroad while 30 Head of States of various countries were sent “gift of Pakistani mangoes” on official level.  

This well-thought strategy played a vital role in promotion of Pakistani mangoes globally, explained Waheed. The consumers of the recipient countries of Pakistani mangoes played a leading role of the front men workers in highlighting Pakistani mangoes as delicious and highly nutrient. Afghanistan emerged as the top country in import of Pakistani mangoes during the current mango season while U.A.E., Iran and Oman proved to be big International markets for Pakistani mangoes. With an overall mango export of 46,276 tonnes, the share of UAE, Iran and Oman was 33,000 tonnes, 17,956 tonnes and 11,459 tonnes respectively, he added. The PFVA raised voice against borders closure by Iran and Afghanistan bringing it in notice of the standing committee of the National Assembly on Agriculture development and subsequent prompt action by the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and Research and the foreign Ministry to get the issues resolved within short span of 72 hours.

While CEO PIA on directive of Ministry of Aviation had a meeting with a delegation of the PFVA to review issues of this sector in contest with exports through the national Flag Carrier and by taking quick decision reduced the Air freight charges by 30-50 per cent to facilitate export of fruits and vegetables. This way the issues of export of mango related to the PIA were amicably resolved. According to Waheed Ahmed, during the current season of mangoes, the coordination and cooperation between the federal government other concerned government departments were excellent in resolving export-related issues. He added that if issues in future are resolved with the same spirit and enthusiasm, the export of Pakistani mangoes could easily be enhanced to 200,000 tonnes while export volume of the value-added products of mangoes to be enhanced to $350 million within three years. PFVA has already submitted a comprehensive road map – titled “Horticulture Vision – 2030” to the GoP, formulated on basis of extensive consultation with all concerned stakeholders from all the provinces of Pakistan for rapid growth of the Horticulture sector. With effective implementation of this road map, the export of mangoes can be enhanced to 200,000 tonnes thus making our country the second largest exporter of the mangoes. Highlighting the serious problems of the Agriculture and Horticulture sector, Waheed mentioned that the production of mangoes is in thick soup due to serious challenges of the Climatic changes and scarcity of water and the magnitude of these issues are multiplying with each passing year and these factors have negative impact on production of mangoes as well. 

The old mango orchards cannot withstand the challenges of seasonal effects and various diseases and similarly the mango orchards established using primitive methods have limited yield per acre.  During the current season, the production of mangoes was reduced by 35 per cent bringing the volume to 1,300,000 tonnes instead of 1,800,000 compared to the last year while the production of “Mosmi Chunisa” was also badly affected. Waheed Ahmed said that by adopting aggressive strategy and prompt resolution of the export- related issues of mangoes during the current mango season, the way the serious challenges of global Corona pandemic were translated into opportunities, the past seasons are unable to produce such a glorifying example. By practicing this exemplary cooperation between the government and the private sector the export could be enhanced manifolds, he remarked.