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DUBAI: The king of fruits became the topic of discussion as people from across the world connected in just one evening in Dubai over the weekend.

An event, held by the Pakistan Association Dubai in the UAE, was held where love for Pakistani mangoes drew in thousands from different cultures and countries to taste the fruit and gel together.

True to its name, ‘Connecting Hearts – the Mangolicious Way’, the two-day Pakistan Mango Festival has been one of the highlights not just among the Pakistani diaspora living in Dubai, but other expats as well who look forward to trying out the different varieties of the fruit, often not easily available in the market.

The event also featured stage activities, contests, activities for children, different mango-related foods, and free mango products. People had the opportunity to buy mangoes as well. The event was organised at the Pakistan Association Dubai, in collaboration with the Pakistan Business Council and the Consulate General of Pakistan in Dubai.

“The main purpose of the event is what is known as ‘mango diplomacy’,” Mariam Mumtaz from Pakistan Association Dubai told Business Recorder.

“We’re in the 2nd edition now; the first one was held in 2022. On the first day, we had invited ambassadors, consul generals, diplomats, business council members from over 20 countries and dignitaries from the government of Dubai. On the second day, the event was open to the public, with free entry.

“One of the best things about the event was the number of non-Pakistanis in attendance. I’ve met people from Iran, China, the UK, Belarus and many others, and this event is helping to forge a more positive impact of Pakistan.”

The last edition of the event saw a footfall of around 5,000 people, and this year the number was surpassed as throngs of mango lovers attended to taste the popular fruit, particularly chaunsa, a clear favourite.

The event was inaugurated by Pakistan’s ambassador to the UAE H.E Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, and Consul General of Pakistan H.E. Hussain Muhammad.

“This is the most anticipated event of the year. Mangoes like citrus are indigenous to the Indus Valley, which constitutes Pakistan,” said Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, according to a post on Pakistan embassy’s social media.

“The Pakistan mango festival is a great way of truly promoting diplomacy amongst the various diaspora here in the UAE via one of the most popular fruits,” said Pakistani expat Fahad Ali.

“Pakistan, by virtue of producing more than 400 varieties of mangoes, is truly a global influencer when it comes to rich tasting mangoes and nothing gives me more pride than to have the country represented in a proud and positive manner through this initiative”.

According to a news report that quotes exporters, Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest mango producer, with exports generating millions of dollars annually.

However, in recent years, both the production and exports targets have dropped mainly due to adverse climate conditions, as well as fruit fly infestation. Last year, Pakistan could not meet its export target of 125,000 metric tons and consequently, this year the target has been scaled down.

On a brighter note, the demand for the king of fruit has shot up in the Middle East, which gives hopes to exporters that they will not only meet this year’s target, but possibly exceed last year’s as well.

The mangoes exported by the UAE in 2022 were valued at $27 million and went up to $31 million in 2023; a good sign that this year too, exports would surge.

However, due to the low yield, mango prices have increased in the UAE. In wholesale, a box of Sindhri mango, which weighs approximately 6kg, is being sold for Dh28-30 while Chaunsa and Answer Ratol are in a higher price bracket.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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