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Four-year project to boost mango exports
By Alauddin Masood
The export of Pakistani mangoes is likely to receive a great boost following the launch of a four year project, aimed at helping farms and groups to set-up facilities that would make Pakistani mangoes more acceptable in international markets, and new research findings indicating that the chemicals found in mangoes help cure some forms of cancer.

Given the excellent taste, the demand for Pakistani mangoes and mango products is constantly on the rise in overseas markets, particularly in China, UK and UAE. Pakistan earned over $61 million by exporting 130,000 tons mangoes last year. The quantity exported represented less than five per cent of the total production of mangoes, which stands at 1.7 million tons, in the country. The experts believe that there exists a huge potential to export some 35 to 40 per cent of the total production of mangoes, which was over and above the domestic demand.

The Punjab government is establishing a centre of excellence for mangoes, in collaboration with USAID, for achieving an increase in the export of this marvelous fruit, which is popularly called as the ‘king of fruits’ in most parts of South Asia.

The FIRMS project will enable mango farmers to meet standards and phytosanitary requirements, as imposed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the US department of agriculture regarding operational protocols, pre-clearance inspections and irradiation. Memorandum of understandings (MoUs) to establish the centre of excellence and re-launch a mango development company is expected to be signed by the two parties soon. It is envisaged that these institutions will help ensure provision of mother plants, setting up certified nurseries, and providing technical assistance to mango growers, aimed at producing high quality and disease-free mangoes. Strict quality requirements will minimize the post-harvest losses which, presently, range around 40 per cent of the total production of mangoes in the country. In addition to increasing mango exports, the project also envisages employing more people and producing higher value-added products and services with the provision of basic facilities, like hot water treatment, blast chillers, reefer containers and latest packing sheds to substantially increase the shelf-life of mangoes.

Although Pakistan has some of the sweetest mangoes in the world, its exports of the fruit are relatively low compared to the potential of the country, which is the third largest producer of mango fruit across the globe.

In exports, Pakistan’s focus has hitherto remained limited to the Middle East, the United Kingdom and some European countries. Despite this, amongst the mango exporting countries, Pakistan enjoys the distinction to be the fourth largest exporter of this delicious fruit. With a little effort, the experts believe, the country can appear as the leading mango exporting country on the globe.

The major constraint to the expansion of market for Pakistani mangoes has, till recently, been related to the country’s inability to supply competitively priced high quality mangoes in a significant and consistent manner, in keeping with demands of the supermarket chains.

Pushed by a desire to reap maximum benefits from the wide range of its horticultural products (vegetables, fruits, fruit juices and pulps) and eyeing to net over one billion dollars annually from the export of various horticultural products, Pakistan has made a beginning by launching, in collaboration with USAID, a four year project to make Pakistani mangoes a force in the international market.

By increasing exports of Pakistani mangoes, USAID-Pakistan FIRMS project also aims at attracting new investment, creating additional job opportunities, particularly for women, and achieving income growth in the targeted areas. Another major aim of the FIRMS project is to help the mango farmers in Punjab and Sindh achieve the Global Gap certification for exports, in keeping with the requirements of EU-USA markets, by raising standards of production, disease control, post-harvest handling and packaging.
 


At present, most of Pakistani mango farmers lack heat treatment and chillers facility to improve the shelf life of the product. However, currently, three Pakistani farms and one group of producers in Multan meet the Global Gap certification requirements of the European supermarkets.

For the past decade, the Latin American suppliers have been meeting over 99 per cent of the US market for mangoes. In view of the distance involved, apparently, the ability to profitably supply the US market from Pakistan remains a challenging job.



Rising demand

Pakistan is the house of some fine varieties of mangoes, which are known for their good aroma, excellent taste and almost total absence of fiber content. Among over 150 varieties of mango fruit produced in Pakistan, the choicest varieties are: Samar Bahisht (Paradise’s fruit), Fajree, Chaunsa, Super Langra, Shan-e-Khuda (God’s magnificence), Anwar Ratol, Lahoti, Ratool, Sindhri, Alfanso, Dusehri, Roosi Dulhan (Russian bride), Lab-e-Mashooq (Darling’s lips), Lab-e-Habshi (Negroe’s lips), Shaheed-e-Zam Zam and Tota Pari. Some other varieties include: Kala Pahar (Black mountain), Ghulab-e-Khas (Special rose), Saleh Bhai, Al-Khausa, Neelum, Baigan Phelli, Seroli and Batasha. Amongst these, Chaunsa and Sindhri have great potential for hitting the US and EU supermarkets.

The flesh of a mango is peach-like and juicy. It is rich in sugar and acid. The mango fruit has best flavour if allowed to ripen on the tree. When ripe, the fruit is entirely pale green or yellow marked with red. The quality of the fruit is based on taste and scarcity of fiber.



Uses of mango

Rich in a variety of phytochemicals and nutrients that qualify mango as a super fruit of high health value, mango is mainly used as a fresh fruit. It is high in prebiotic dietary fiber, vitamin C, polyphenols, and provitamin carotenoids. The antioxidant vitamins A, C and E comprise 25 per cent, 76 per cent and 9.0 per cent respectively of the Dietary Reference Intake in a 165-gram serving.

There is a strong demand in the food industry for mango puree and concentrate, both the basis of mango juice, and for dried and pickled mango. The mango kernel is valuable for its oil, which is commercially extracted for use as a cocoa butter substitute and for soap-making. The cake remaining after oil extraction is used in animal feed. The mango tree also yields a gum – tannin, and a yellow dye. The bark possesses 16 per cent to 20 per cent tannin and has been employed for tanning hides. A somewhat resinous, red-brown gum from the trunk is used for mending crockery in tropical Africa. Amchur is a spice, which is prepared from the flesh of dried green mangoes and it is widely used in the entire South Asian subcontinent. The bark and leaves of mango trees as well as the mango seeds are used to prepare a range of traditional medicines.

New research studies have shown that chemicals found in mango can help cure some forms of cancers, including colon, chest, lungs, bone-marrow and prostrate.Many doctors believe that mango pulp, juice, peel and seed can create resistance against cancer. These research findings are likely to result in increasing the demand for mango fruits manifold.

Courtesy:The NEWS

   
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