Pakistani mango exports poised to treble in China

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Pakistani mango exports poised to treble in China

Pakistan could increase mango exports exponentially over the next few years if it can make the most of the Chinese market, claims Durrani Associates' director Babar Khan Durrani.

He told although China is the second biggest mango producer in the world, its season dovetailed with Pakistan's.

"We have opened six to seven new markets this year, we are not just focussing on Europe. We are focusing on China, its a very big market.

"The Chinese season finishes in the middle of June just when the Pakistan season is in full swing."

He said his company had sent its first consignment of white chaunsa mangoes to Wal-Mart China, with 40 metric tons (MT) last week and plans to send the same amount each week throughout the season.

Durrani Associates has also sent 100MT of mangoes to Shanghai to be sold on the wholesale market where he is convinced Pakistani varieties will be well received.

"White chaunsa is very low fiber and our Sindri mangoes are fiber free and have a brix level of 19 after ripening," Durrani enthused.

His company, in partnership with the government, set up the world's largest hot water treatment plant, known as Pakistan Horti Fresh Processing (Pvt) Limited, which opened in Karachi two months ago.

The plant can handle 15MT of mangoes per hour compared with the city's existing treatment centre which can treat 10MT per hour.

Durrani Associates have developed a post-treatment semi-sealing system for mangoes to extend their shelf life from seven days to 40 which has increased the country's export potential.

"When we do hot water treatment the pores of the mango open, pushing their shelf life to just 6-7 days post treatment. Once we have opened the pores by heat treatment we semi-seal them with chemicals."

The hot water treatment kills anthicolas, a major disease that results in black spots on mango skin. Durrani said his father Dr Abul Qateer Durrani started research on the semi-sealing process more than 25 years ago independently without any government help.

He said the extended lifespan of Pakistani mangoes to 40 days has made it possible to export to China and a range of new markets including Australia, Lebanon, Mauritius, South Korea, the U.K. and Vietnam.

"If Pakistani exporters combine to work in China we would double or treble our exports within the next few years."

Durrani said shipping by sea to Europe worked out at just US$0.20 per kilogram as opposed to US$1.25 by air freight.

He said this year was the first year it had been economically viable to ship to the U.K., with his enterprise sending its first lots of mangoes to supermarket giant Tesco in June as well as Carrefour on the European continent.

This year his company will have exported 18,000MT mangoes representing a 30% year-on-year increase.

He said his company was in discussions with inspection authorities about shipping to the U.S. instead of air freight which is prohibitively costly.

"The U.S. is buying hot water treated mangoes from Mexico and Thailand, so why can't they buy mangoes from Pakistan? We have requested that they come to Pakistan and see the technology and approve us."

Durrani added his company was currently working on opening a third hot water treatment plant in Karachi which would be open by March 2013 in time for next year's mango season.

Related stories: Pakistan mango growers blame low exports on poor logistics

Photo: Pakistan Tribune

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