Pakistani mango exporters call for more U.S. flight options
They are frustrated because it looks as if no exports will arrive in the U.S. this season due to transport difficulties. At the moment the USDA recognized route is to fly from Lahore to Chicago direct with a stop over in Dubai.
However, growers have said this effectively limits them to flying only with Emirates, which Multan Progressive Mango Growers chief executive officer Tariq Khan claims is too restrictive.
“There should be multiple touch downs not just Dubai, and they should allow us to change plane which would allow us to use four, or more, airlines,” he told www.freshfruitportal.com.
Importer and owner of Mangozz.com Jaidev Sharma, said it looked unlikely that any Pakistani mangoes would arrive this season.
“We have the license valid until Sept. 30 – good mangoes are available until Sept. 15 – at this point the hurdles are the cost of radiation, which necessitates a larger volume, and airlines which are currently not agreeing to carry mango as cargo through Dubai.”
Harvest Trading chief executive officer Ahmad Jawad agreed more flexibility was needed on flights, especially for exporters to use the new Gulfport irradiation center in Mississipi which opened this month.
“For catching Gulfport we need approved airports in Mississippi, New York and Washington D. C. We want a level playing field and the same conditions required as other Asian products have in the U.S.”
Khan estimates the Pakistan mango industry has lost a potential of US$30 million worth of exports by effectively being unable to send their fruit to the U.S. this season.
Exporters are also frustrated they cannot use the Pakistan irradiation center in Lahore and can only use the U.S. irradiation center at Sioux City in Iowa state.
Khan believes that bigger political issues are behind why the U.S. is unhappy for fruit to be irradiated within Pakistan
“The U.S. doesn’t recognize Pakistan’s nuclear program. Probably this is why they don’t want to give permission; by doing so they are legally accepting the nuclear facility in Pakistan.”
Ahad said he believed there would be a solution in the future because the U.S. was one of the largest mango buyers in the world with a 42% market share.
“The U.S. must take benefit of Pakistani mangoes due to their great taste. It’s right that currently Pakistan mango exporters are disappointed with the Animal and Plant Health Service’s (APHIS) strict behaviors.”
“The time will come when Pakistani mangoes are exported in bigger volumes to the U.S. market, but it will take another two to six years; we need to remap the strategy with the help of our commerce ministry and the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.
USDA spokesman Matt Herrick, said his department would continue to work with the Pakistan government to review options for importing fresh mangoes into the country.
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