KARACHI: Amid a 20 per cent drop in production, mango exporters have said achieving the export target of 125,000 tonnes has become a distant possibility due to the poor strategy of the Department of Plant Protection (DPP).
All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) on Thursday said the DPP on June 12 issued a new SOP [standard operating procedure] requiring hot water treatment (HWT) of mangoes mandatory from the approved plants only.
“Due to this discriminatory policy and favouritism of the DPP, 90 per cent of the 35 plants have been shut down, resulting in a loss of $44 million due to the closure of HWT plants which were not issued no-objection certificates (NOCs) by the DPP.
Around 2,500 labour (skilled and unskilled) employed in these plants have become jobless due to the closure of these plants while 6,000 labour working with growers have been badly affected as well.
The association has informed the Ministry of National Food Security about the discriminatory policy and favouritism of the DPP in which blue-eyed treatment plants are being allowed under the guise of new SOPs while modern HWT plants are facing shutdowns.
The DPP is refusing to issue NOC to the plants due to minor objections which have nothing to do with the basic functions of the plants, the association deplored, adding that the non-approved HWT plants have been processing mangoes for export to Europe, Iran, Australia, China, Kenya and Iraq for many years and have never received any complaints from their buyers.
As 90pc of the hot water treatment plants have been shut down, the existing plants are under pressure and they are treating mangoes beyond their capacity, raising fears that the treatment of mangoes exported from Pakistan will be affected, the PFVA observed.
The association informed the ministry that certain elements were being benefited by non-approval of hot water treatment plants, which should be taken note of and action should be taken against the officials who are harming the national trade.
PFVA chairman Muhammad Shehzad Sheikh said exporters had confirmed orders of mangoes from various countries and due to the non-operational status of HWT plants by the DPP, India would take advantage of the situation and avail the confirmed orders and would capture these international markets for future as well.
Before the start of mango exports from the third week of May, PFVA Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed had warned of a drop in production to 1.44m tonnes from 1.8m tonnes last year.
Punjab produces 70pc of mango while Sindh holds 29pc share and 1pc by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. About 50pc of mangoes are exported from Pakistan by sea, 35pc by land and 15pc by air.
Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2023