Pakistan’s mango exports have taken a huge hit from the economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic, reported Anadolu Agency.
Exporters fear a huge decline of around 35% to 40% this year due to suspension of international flights, closure of borders, rising freight fares, and on top of that, contracting demands.
Waheed Ahmed, President of Pakistan Fruits Exporters Association told the foreign media outlet that last year, Pakistan exported 130,000 metric tons of mangoes to the Middle East, Europe, the US, Japan, Australia, and other countries. This year, however, Pakistan is expected to export no more than 80,000 tons.
Pakistan had earned over $90 million through mango exports alone but it will not be more than $50 million this year due to present coronavirus conditions. He said:
Timing is a key factor vis-a-vis mango exports as it’s a perishable commodity. It cannot wait long. Suspension of international flights has badly hit the mango exports to Europe and the US. Many exporters are sending mangoes to Europe and the US via cargo flights but their charges have increased four times.
One of the major concerns was the closure of borders with neighboring Iran, and Afghanistan which have also added to the decline in mango exports. The two countries together import 30,000 to 35,000 metric tons of mangoes annually.
Mango exports to the Middle East are continuing via sea route but the demands are not that high as tens of thousands of Pakistanis and other South Asians have returned to their countries [from Gulf states], while a large number of people have lost their jobs.
Pakistan, last week, partially lifted a prolonged ban on international flights, which will give a relief to the mango exporters, said the report.
“This will certainly have a positive impact because at least access will be available,” said Mahmood Nawaz Shah, a grower from southern Sindh province, He noted that he doesn’t see a huge difference because the airlines are not going to decrease the freight rates,” he added.
There are several mango varieties, notably, Anwar Ratol, Dasheri, Langra, Saroli, Sindhri, Totapari, Chaunsa, Malda, and others but Chaunsa, accounts to 60% of total mango exports of the country.
Pakistan’s actual production capacity of 1.9 million tons reduced to 1.4 million metric tons last year and is likely to be the same this year also, according to Ahmed.