PAKISTAN: Over a third of mango harvest wasted due to postharvest inefficiency


Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Regional Standing Committee Chairman Ahmad Jawad said that the average export of Pakistani mangoes during the last five years was around 90,000 tonnes only despite the fact that the country produces around 1.8 million tonnes of mango annually but export volume has been very low (4-5% only) as a proportion of the total production.


Jawad said that a major restriction in the expansion of the Pakistani mango market is the inability to supply competitively high quality mangoes in a consistent manner in keeping with the demands of the supermarket chain. To enter into the high value export markets, we need to fix poor orchard management and post-harvest issues including inappropriate handling, immature fruit harvesting and inadequate transport. Improper grading and packaging were also key factors for the low export prices of mangoes.


According to an estimate, 30 to 40% of fruit is wasted from the harvest to the market system. Hence, saving on these losses would help to almost double the value of the mango industry of Pakistan, he added.


Ahmad Jawad has also called for establishing ripening centres to cater to the needs of sophisticated markets and for increasing mango export. “If ripening centres are established under PPP mode with proper facilities, the price of our mangoes in the world market would be doubled, in addition to an increase in the volume of mango exports,” he added.


Pakistani mangos are naturally blessed with a Brix level of 18 to 22, which is ideal for any buyer and not available in any other country. However, he added that to maintain the uniformity of the Brix level in every mango carton, proper ripening centres were needed in areas of Punjab and Sindh.


“In high value markets, buyers prefer uniformity of Brix level in each consignment,” he said adding that unfortunately Pakistan had failed to ensure this due to lack of technology.


Similarly in the absence of the much-needed Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT) plant, the Japanese market will remain untapped for the third consecutive year. VHT plant, which has already been imported with millions of rupees investment, is still idle as the concerned institution TDAP is yet to install it. “The dysfunctional VHT plant which is lying idle in Karachi is depriving the country of the highly valuable Japanese market where Pakistani mangoes could be sold at $4 to 5 per kg”


Treating mango at the VHT plant, Pakistan can initially export more than 400 tonnes to Japan, increasing the volume to thousands in the future, Jawad said and added that apart from Japan, doors have also been opened for Pakistani mangoes in China and Australia but these markets remain inaccessible until our fruit becomes compatible with the quality of other countries. “We also need to focus on research and development and improving the quality of fruit as per demand for international markets.


FPCCI Standing Committee Chairman further said our mango exporters also need training on quality management and an awareness of packing, packaging and labelling requirements of high end markets as well as adaption of modern refrigeration methodologies and development of proper infrastructure and that can be only done through coordinated efforts of all the stakeholders in public and private sectors.


Source: Daily Times

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