Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mango festival: The ‘king of fruit’ does not get royal welcome by exporters

A woman inspects the different varieties of mangoes on display at a Mango festival in Hyderabad. PHOTO: 
  Over 25 different varieties of mangoes — even of all shapes and sizes — were displayed at the three-day mango festival at the Expo Centre to promote the fruit’s international trade. But only a few direct export orders were placed to the farmers.
As many as 15 stalls of mango farms from Tando Allahyar, Nawabshah, Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad, Sanghar, Matiari and Tando Muhammad Khan districts are set up at the exhibition organised by the Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry  (HCCI) and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).
Munir Ahmed Nizamani became the first among the fortunate farmers to be given an export order at the festival. Nizamani, who expects to earn Rs450,000 from this deal every day, told The Express Tribune that an exporter from Karachi has ordered a consignment of 250 maunds every day. Nizamani’s farm is located in Nawabshah and it is the first time that he will be exporting mangoes. Although the exporter has offered him the same rate which he gets from the local market, he is happy with the deal – for lucrative reasons of course. “Local buyers pay us between Rs35 to Rs40 per kilogramme. To the exporter, we will sell the mangoes at Rs37.5 per kg, but we will earn more as our packaging and transport costs will decrease,” he explained.
“It is an export-oriented festival, unlike the ones that take place in Mirpurkhas, which are purely for family entertainment. We only selected farms that fulfilled the criteria for export,” said Dr M Fareed Qasim, the HCCI trade and exhibition committee chairman.
TDAP director Kareem Daudpoto said his organisation was focusing more on US and Japanese markets this year. “The Vapour Heat Treatment plant was a stumbling block due to which a Japanese ban on mango import from Pakistan continued for 16 years.” The test shipments for promotional purpose will begin from this July.
Saleem Ranjhani of Firms, a USAID project helping Pakistan to increase exports, advised the farmers and exporters to follow the requirements of hygiene, processing, grading, packaging and marketing to get access to US and European markets.
He pointed out that the average per acre yield of mango orchards in Pakistan is around three to six tons which can be increased to seven to eight by adopting better farm management. The festival will be open daily from 5 pm to 11 pm until June 25 (today).


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