August 12, 2014
Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages programme (ASLP) launched a domestic marketing development project to improve the quality of mango at local level and imparting training to orchard owners for direct marketing of their produce.
Professor Dr Nazim Hussain Labar and ASLP project officer Suhail Ayyaz Ansari said mangoes are one of Pakistan's more important fruit crops with an annual production of around one million tonnes (4% of world production) and exports of 7-10% of production valued at around US $20 million per year.
Pakistan receives the lowest average price per kilogram (US $0.30) of any major mango exporting country in the world, largely due to the poor quality of its fruit combined with poor marketing practices.
After a decade of steadily increasing production, there is now concern in Pakistan that mango production is static or declining.
Key production issues that impact upon yield and fruit quality are inadequate orchard and irrigation/drainage management, as well as the incidence of major diseases and pests. Examples of such diseases are the sudden death of mango estimated at an incidence of more than 30% in most production areas, and malformation.
Professor Dr Nazim said: "Fruit flies are a widespread pest problem while mango midge appears to be an emerging new pest problem."
The industry faces major constraints and inefficiencies, among which a critical issue is the level of major losses (around 40%) in the supply chain from over-ripe, immature, damaged and diseased fruit.
These losses are related to the high perishability of the mango, sub-standard production, harvesting, and post-harvest practices, compounded by lack of grading, handling and storage infrastructure.
** If post harvest losses could be reduced, the ensuing gains would provide more and better quality fruit for local and export markets.
** If the supply chain were to operate more effectively it would generate more value, share it more equitably, and create more jobs.
N H Labar said Australia has comparative strengths in horticulture in general and mangos in particular.
This spans the entire production system and supply chain.
The systems approach and integration of end-users in the planning, execution and evaluation of the research is a unique attribute that could be brought to bear in Pakistan.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014