Former chairman of the standing committee of the FPCCI on horticulture Ahmad Jawad has urged the Sindh and Punjab agriculture department officials to provide consultancy in field to mango farmers for safe harvesting, processing, packing and transportation amid COVID-19.
Jawad said that Pakistan was the fifth largest mango producer in the world preceded by India, China, Thailand and Indonesia. However, a substantial quantity was wasted in the country from farm to market. Some estimate this wastage at up to 35 percent of the production.
If the wasted mangoes were converted into pulp, it would create an exportable surplus of $400 million. That could only be possible if the Finance Division provided incentives for setting up of new units in the coming budget.
Jawad also said that over the past ten years, the market had grown by 7 percent annually. Approximately 1.9 million tons of mangoes were traded worldwide last year; and less than 5 percent of the global production was sold on the international fresh market.
However this year in Sindh, the crop gets ready for plucking by the end of May while in Punjab it is July. "Air routes and sea routes being not fully functional and skyrocketing freight rates, export volumes could further decrease," he said.
He said agriculture was going through a rough patch due to erratic weather, and the locust threat was making it even harder for farmers to sleep peacefully at night.
He urged the government to raise the issue of locust threat across the country at the meetings of the National Coordination Committee and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for better coordination to get rid of this huge threat to the agriculture sector.