By Hamid Khan Wazir
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is ranked sixth in the world for the export of mangoes, which is Pakistan’s second-largest fruit production, after citrus. Pakistan’s prolific mango production — about 1.8 million tons per year — includes a number of varieties of mangoes, such as Chaunsa, Anwar Ratol, Sindhri, and Dussehri, which are all beloved around the world.
Although the Pakistani mango is considered to be one of the most delicious varieties of mango in the world, the export of Pakistani mangoes has been minimal due to a lack of access and resources regarding the international market, branding and grading of the fruit, and international export standards.
The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Pakistan Agricultural Market Development program (AMD) has worked to increase the demand for mangoes internationally and support the country’s mango industry and exportation. For example, AMD has provided substantial training and education on international export standards, grading, branding, packaging, and more. Pakistani mango exporters are also given opportunities to take part in mango exhibitions globally to reach out to international markets.
USAID’s assistance in improving international export standards has already proven to be effective in enhancing mango exports. According to one mango exporter, Khuram Fareed Khakwani, mangoes were graded according to their weight and size manually in the past, which not only took more time but was also prone to errors.
USAID has provided machinery for washing and hot water treatments for mangoes under the AMD project in addition to training on packaging techniques and coding systems in the Sindh and Punjab regions. Part of that machinery is innovative electronic grading machines, which can process five tons of mangoes per hour.
“USAID has provided innovative electronic grading machines to mango producers, through which grading is done with the help of a laser, and the accurate classification is done in a very short time,” said Mr. Khakwani.
The All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Association (PFVA) has announced the target of 1.5 million metric tons of mango export in 2021, which would generate revenue of $127.5 million in foreign exchange.
PFVA Chairman Waheed Ahmed states that more than 1.8 million tons of mangoes are produced in Pakistan every year and over 400,000 people are linked to the mango industry. Regarding exports from Pakistan, the majority of mangoes are exported via sea (approximately 55 percent), followed by ground transport (25 percent), then by air (20 percent).
USAID has also launched training programs for women to increase their participation in the agricultural industry, such as the mango industry. The training emphasizes how to work in the mango processing units and in the manufacturing process for products such as pickles, jams, sauces to encourage women’s financial independence.
USAID, in partnership with AMD, is optimistic that the training and technical assistance provided to Pakistanis will continue to improve the quality of mango grading, branding, and packaging to ensure the enhancement of exporting this “king of fruits” in hopes of placing Pakistan higher on the list of mango-exporting countries.