Pakistan needs "level playing field", says mango exporter

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Pakistan needs "level playing field", says mango exporter

A leading Pakistani mango exporter has urged the caretaker government to prioritize lifting non-tariff barriers for U.S. market access, ahead of the country's general election on May 18.

Ahmad Jawad

Ahmad Jawad

Harvest Tradings CEO Ahmad Jawad told the existing protocol of irradiation in the U.S. was too expensive.

"What we want is a playing field, and so the government should try to get us the same comfort and facility approvals that are given to Indian mango exports to the U.S.," he said.

"India has its own irradiation facility that the USDA stamped - we have  irradiation facilities in Lahore and one in Karachi, and if the U.S. would allow us to use these there would be a significant saving in cost.

"If we look at all the costs of getting into the United States, from production to packing to the irradiation in Iowa, it ends up costing US$21-23 per 2kg (4.4lbs) box. But if we were able to use our facilities in Pakistan the cost would be around US$13-15 per 2kg (4.4lbs) box, and that’s a big difference."

Jawad has taken up the issue with the government in what he claims would be a beneficial move for both Pakistan's industry and U.S. consumers.

"This issue was not a priority for the last government and that’s why it wasn’t executed," he said.

"If they can take on this issue it will be good news for the business community of Pakistan. It would be a relief as the United States is the world’s largest importer of mangoes.

"We are optimistic that if this were to starting happening tomorrow, we could be shipping to the United States in June."

Sindhri mangoes

Sindhri mangoes

Unique varieties

Pakistan's mango harvest starts around May 25 with the first exports set to begin in the first week of June, carrying through until the first week of September.

While the country has 300 types of mangoes, Jawad highlighted the Anwar Ratot, Chaunsa, Sindhri, Langra and White Chaunsa as the key varieties, all yellow, for domestic consumption and export.

"The Anwar Rotot is a small mango which is very sweet, the Sindhri is a big mango which is also sweet but not as sweet as the Anwar Rotot," he said

"If you compare a Chaunsa it is also big in size, around 400g per mango and it is sweet but with a different taste to the last two varieties.

"The Langra variety is of a medium size with a little bit of a different flavor, while with the later White Chaunsa the pulp is white and yellow.

Export markets - the old and the new

As the world's fifth-largest mango producer, Pakistan only exports 7% of its total production. Jawad said his company shipped to the Middle East, Canada, the U.K., Europe, China, South Korea and India.

He said success the Middle Eastern market often depended too much on supply while the European market would be better without middle men. For mango exports he identified five key high value markets to focus on - the U.S., Japan, Australia, South Korea and China.Anwar Ratol _ small

Jawad expected the Japanese market to be open this coming season, and he hoped Australian protocols would improve for better access.

"They are set on vapor heat treatment and the plan is that these treatments will be imported from Japan to be installed in one or two months; one in Multan and another in Karachi.

"Negotiation has started with Australia as it has the requirement of laser treatment. In South Korea we are able to ship with hot water treatment, which is a much more cost effective option and we are trying to get this protocol in Australia.

"I have spoken personally with Australia’s newly appointed ambassador to Pakistan to ask him if he can put this on the agenda."

He said these two markets could be very big for Pakistan in the future.

"Japan will already be opened I think by the time the season starts; our government has already approved the budget for vapor treatment plants to be imported from Japan.

"With Australia it could take a bit longer. I think probably next year Pakistan will be exporting mangoes to Australia."





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