For the many city dwellers like us, the late arrival of Mangoes in the current season might have gone unnoticed, but the delay has had severe repurcussions on the exports.
Being the second largest exported fruit in the country, Mango brings in a huge chunk of foreign exchange in the Government exchequer and the crop for this summer now stands almost two weeks behind the schedule.
The reasons cited by the agricultural experts range from Global Warming to
unpredictable weather which included incessantly long winters and endless rain spells in the months of March and April.
Mangoes are grown in the southern districts of Punjab and almost all of Sindh but the two provinces do not share the same season of ripening.
Mango from Sindh normally hits the market almost a month ahead of the crop from Punjab and triggers the pace of the exports before the Mangoes from Punjab make their debut. According to the assessment ofmango growers and market forces, the crop is showing a 30 per cent deficit in terms of production in Sindh. The deficit is primarily blamed on last year’s monsoon downpour, which caused serious damage to the mango farms in Sindh.
Arrival of crop, this year, was delayed and even varieties like ‘daseri’ and ‘saroli,’ which are available in the market by second or third week of May, were delayed.
Subsequently, the Sindhri, which is the most popular variety of mango and liked world over, also arrived in the market after a delay. This variety stands out due to its size, taste, look and shelf-life.
25 percent of orchards in lower Sindh’s districts including Umerkot, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas and part of Tando Allahyar are almost gone due to last year’s rain related damages. Those located in Hyderabad and Matiari remain safe.
Last year, the production was said to be around 379,000-metric tons. Mirpurkhas division, which is the biggest producer of ‘Sindhri’ was unable to live up to the expectations after being hit by heavy rainfall, and the subsequent delay in drainage. Middle Eastern countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman are the biggest markets of the Pakistani Mangoes.