PAKISTAN: Experts concerned over declining mango orchards

Mango experts, farmers, academia and researchers showed a great concern over the fast decreasing mango orchards in Sindh.


Speaking at a two-day “Conceptual Workshop on Pre- and Post-Harvest Management Interventions”, growers said they are facing field problems, like lack of orchard management practices, water shortage and attack of fruit fly on the king of fruits mango and losing their source of income.


Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Linkages Programme (ASLP) organised the workshop in collaboration with Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam.


A group of 20 mango farmers, belonging to Tando Allahyar, Jamshoro, Mirpurkhas, Tando Muhammad Khan and Hyderabad districts, participated in the training and shared their knowledge and experiences regarding integrated mango orchard management.


The growers said insects and different diseases are causing sudden death of orchards. According to them, the floods of 2010, 2011 and 2012 also affected badly these orchards and growers faced colossal loss because entire gardens dried in the wide area, especially in lower parts of Sindh.


Prof Dr Mujeebuddin Memon Sahrai, vice chancellor of the university, said the province produces 80 percent of Sindhri mango in the country, which is popular in UK, USA, Australia, Canada and other developed countries because of its taste and aroma.


Dr Sahrai said mango industry can support the farmers to improve their orchard, through management practices, to produce quality fruit and export their produces to abroad for more income.


Mango is the second most cultivated crop in Pakistan after citrus. Ironically, mango yield in Pakistan is declining due to various reasons, mainly because of poor management practices.


It is the time that mango growers should follow the best management practices to improve their orchards through floor management, canopy management, and effective use of fertiliser, sprays, and timely supply of irrigation water, said the vice chancellor.


He said prior to exporting famous Sindhri mango variety to foreign countries, farmers should follow the recommended post-harvest practices to earn income and improve their livelihood.


Dr Atta Hussain Soomro, director general of Agriculture Research Sindh, said after the ban by Europe on Indian mangoes, farmers in Sindh fear the similar situation.


Faisal Sohail Fatah, national coordinator of ASLP mango production unit, said that a linkage programme was initiated during 2007 to 2010 with the support of Australia government. Through this programme, a research was conducted to identify the problems of mango growers at the field level.


In the light of research findings, the ASLP second phase begun in 2011 to improve the capacity of mango farmers through pre- and post-harvest practices. The training is part of the programme.


Fatah hoped that the trained farmers would transfer the technology to the other farmers in their fields.


Prof Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, director of University Advancement and Financial Assistance and Training Coordinator, said mango is the king of fruits and one of the most consumed fruit in the country.


Mango is an excellent source of vitamin A, B and C, proteins, sugar, fat, fiber and iron. Many byproducts are prepared out of it like jam, jelly, pickles, slice, juice, squash etc.


Kumbhar said the training will be more beneficial for the farmers to produce quality fruits and earn income for their better livelihood.


He appreciated the ASLP efforts for organising such a training workshop at the university for developing strong linkages with farmers, academia, researchers and exporters.


Certificates were awarded among the participants at the end of the workshop.


Source: The News

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