Fungus unlikely to disrupt mango exports

Staff Reporter

Despite orchards being adversely impacted by the mango malformation disease (MMD) in Sindh, farmers are confident that it will not hurt exports and ask the government to focus on increasing efficiency in fruit shipments.

“So far the mango crop has been fine,” remarked All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) Chairman Waheed Ahmed while talking to The Express Tribune.

Pakistan produces 1.7-1.8 million tons of mangoes every season and exports 5-7% of the produce, according to Sindh Abadgar Board (SAB) Senior Vice President Mahmood Nawaz Shah.

Last year, mango exports stood at 120,000 tons. Punjab produces 60% of the mangoes while Sindh’s share is around 38%. Some 2% of mangoes are produced by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

“Therefore, if 10-12% of the crop is affected by MMD in Sindh, the overall exports should not take a hit,” Shah emphasised.

However, he cautioned that the mango crop was facing threat from climate change and different pathogens.

One of them is MMD, which is a fungal disease in mango plants that can cause abnormal flower, leaf and shoot growth, and can severely stunt young plants.

Farmers have tried their best to eradicate this disease, but still some signs of the disease are found.

Shedding light on the cure from the disease, the SAB office-bearer said that apart from eliminating it, there was no cure for the malformation.

“We have taken preventive measures for fungal diseases, not curative; however, for this one we do not even know what preventive measures are,” Shah lamented.

The fungus gets even harder when the flower turns into unripe raw mango called Carrie.

Mango crop would be satisfactory in the upcoming season, remarked Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) Committee for Horticulture Exports former chief Ahmad Jawad.

“Out of the total annual production of mangoes in Pakistan, exports are always meagre,” he said in comments to The Express Tribune.

“Over the last 10 years, the maximum recorded export volume was 140,000 tons; we have not been able to enhance exports, which is unfortunate,” he added.