Expressing his fear about likely Indian attempts to get Pakistani mangoes banned in European Union (EU) markets, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan stressed upon the mango growers and exporters on Saturday to adopt extra measures to ensure shipment of fruit fly and bug free mango consignments to the EU markets.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Fruit Fly and Pest Free Mango Export to the World jointly organised by DPP and PFVA here, he underlined the importance of strict implementation of parameters set by the EU for pest free fruits and told the participants that the EU had also issued a warning to Pakistan against fruit fly of mangoes and demanded special measures for European consignments. “Indian mango has already been banned by the EU,” he added.

Mr. Bosan appreciated the efforts of agricultural scientists and researchers’ help in tackling mango diseases for enhanced production of the exotic fruit and added that their pre-harvest guidelines tripled the income of mango growers in targeted areas of Punjab. The Minister said that Agriculture Sector Linkage Programme (ASLP) Mango project has established 24 integrated research sites in Punjab and 12 in Sindh where pre-harvest mango orchard management technology has increased the income of growers .He said that Sudden Death disease cannot go away permanently. The Minister said that growers can increase their production two to three times and improve its quality by following the mango farm management guidelines against sudden death disease. He told the participants that the research on mango malformation disease was also underway. He advised growers to perform pruning in their orchards to enable sunlight and air reach plants for proper growth and fruit formation.

The Minister said that ASLP Mango project developed three nurseries at Mango Research Station Shujabad, Sindh Horticulture Research Institute Mirpur Khas and Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam besides three nursery shades. He added that two commercial nurseries at Sadiqabad and Vehari were operational while Sadiqabad nursery had reared 30,000 mango plants and grafted 8000 which have been sold to orchard owners.

Speaking on this occasion, Director General, Department of Plant Production (DPP), Dr Mubarak said that the DPP, Government of Pakistan and All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) launched a massive drive against fruit fly of mangoes on war footing. The drive started in provinces of Punjab and Sindh’s orchards to avert a likely ban upon export of Pakistani mangoes to European Union. He disclosed that the registration of orchards had begun in Punjab and Sindh and the first round of the registration in Punjab had been completed.