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Climatic changes have posed serious challenge and leading to 30 percent reduction in mango production this year. Export season of mango would commence from 20th May 2019 and an export target of 100,000 metric tons has been fixed for this year. According to Waheed Ahmed, Patron-in-Chief of All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable, Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) the Pakistan total production of mango is likely to decline 30 percent to 1.2 million tons this year compared to actual production of 1.8 million tons last year due to severe impact of climatic changes.

"Severe storms, unexpected heavy rains and hail storms have caused damage to the mango crops in Sindh is about 10 percent and some 35 percent in Punjab", he mentioned. Favourable season, support and co-operation from Shipping and Airline companies, Quarantine department, ANF and Customs is necessary to achieve the export target of 0.1 million tons this year.

With increase in prices of petroleum products, the cost of domestic transportation and logistics have also been revised upward, while devolution of Pak rupee, the freight charges have also been raised by Airlines & Shipping companies making it further difficult for the exporters to remain competitive in the international markets, Waheed elaborated .

Last year some 75,000 tons mango was exported while the country is anticipated to earn foreign exchange of $80 million by exporting 100,000 tons mango during the current season.

China and the USA, in particular would be focus of attention for an additional export volume during this year while special mango promotions campaigns would also be conducted in EU countries, he said.

Pakistan major mango exports are by sea route, while 15 percent would be exported by land routes and some 15 percent by air.

With reduction in frequency of flights this year from Pakistan announced by the Emirates Airlines, it would further multiply the problems of mango exporters, he pointed out.

He expressed concerns that climatic changes have emerged as the biggest challenge for the produces of agriculture and horticulture sectors. "Thirty percent reduction in production of mango crops during the current season reinforces our concern about serious potential threat of the climatic changes", he added.

However, no clear and well-defined policy has so far developed to safeguard agriculture & horticulture sectors from this severe threat, Waheed said.

Pakistan being an agriculture country, the export sector has substantial part in total national production in agriculture & horticulture sector but no policy for betterment & uplift of the agriculture has so far been formulated.

While pressure of inflation is mounting due to reduction in production of crops leading to financial losses, on one hand possibility of acute shortage of food cannot be ruled out which is likely to have severe impact on food security and any country engulfed with food shortage, inflation and the downfall of the sector being backbone of a country can lead to serious threat to its existence as well which subsequently poses serious threat to national security of the country, he cautioned.

Keeping these major challenges in view, PFVA formulated policy for the rapid development of horticulture sector termed "Horticulture Vision-2030 (HV-2030) which has proposed short, medium and long-term solutions and the road map. In light of recommendations proposed in the HV-2030, a national policy on the Horticulture can be developed which can encounter the serious challenges in the Agriculture and Horticulture sectors, he concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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