KARACHI: The government has convened a parliamentary committee meeting on Monday (tomorrow) to discuss barriers in mango exports that are anticipated to drop 70 percent this season, a trade association said on Saturday.
Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) said the special committee of the National Assembly on agriculture called a session on 15th June to discuss two serious issues related to problems in export of mangoes to Iran and European markets. The session will be attended by all the relevant ministries, traders and growers.
Revising up the previous estimate of 38 percent, PFVA expected mango exports to plunge 70 percent this year because of hurdles in exports to Iran – that consumes almost quarter of exporting mangoes from Pakistan – and exorbitant air freight costs to European market.
Amid the coronavirus lockdown, mango exports were previously estimated at 80,000 tons compared to 130,000 tons that fetched $90 million last year.
The association favours reduction in freight costs of state-owned Pakistan International Airlines whose freight charges are same as foreign carriers, according to PFVA Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed.
Of the total export volume of mangoes, 55 percent is usually exported by sea, 20 percent via air, and 25 percent through land.
The PFVA expected the NA committee to find solutions of the recurring problems facing mango sector and ensure provision of reasonable services, handling expertise and freight cost relief from the national carrier to save capital flight by foreign carriers with profit repatriation. Foreign airlines account for 90 percent of mango exports from Pakistan.
Mango export to Iran via land route is also badly suffering due to various serious issues, according to the PFVA.
“The number of trucks carrying Pakistani mangoes to Iran through Taftan border is piling up with each passing day whereas the less number of trucks coming from Iran to Pakistan,” said Ahmed. Umpteen numbers of truckloads of mangoes are forming long queues on the Iran-Pakistan border due to restriction on number of working days and a daily short time-frame for trucks to get into Iran in the coronavirus tumult.
“Mangoes are getting spoiled due to inordinate delay in movement to cross the Taftan border,” said Ahmed, lamenting over a slipping golden opportunity to meet demand of lucrative Iranian market.
The PFVA said various sectors, including packaging and transportation, are directly related to the trade of fruits and vegetables. Many new investors and businessmen are attracted to the trade of fruits and vegetables after economic difficulties in other occupations due to lockdown. The new investment would create employment, it added.
The association said Pakistan can get out of the current severe economic crisis if this trade is seriously considered and its enormous potential is fully exploited. It hoped that the special committee of the NA would focus its attention on all the issues and get them resolved with close coordination of the concerned ministries for the public interest.