Published: June 22, 2014

Updated Jun 22, 2014 09:28am
— File photo
— File photo

KARACHI: Despite all the claims of the authorities concerned that mango would be exported to the European Union after taking safety measures, a mango shipment exported from the country on June 16 and intercepted by UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on June 17 was found infested with fruit fly.

The consignment originated from a registered orchard located in Tehsil Kotri, District Jamshoro, Sindh, and was sent by a Hyderabad-based exporter to the UK through a foreign airline on June 16.

The Department of Plant Protection (DPP) of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research received this information from the Sanco Europhyte on June 20, which the DPP has now conveyed to exporters, relevant ministries and government departments.

According to DPP letter, recent pest scouting survey regarding fruit fly conducted by the association and Pest Warning and Quality Control of Pesticides revealed that fruit fly population in mango orchards in Sindh and Punjab soared much higher from economic threshold level.

Four more cases of fruit fly infestation will EU ban on mango export from Pakistan. Against this backdrop, the DPP has now decided that “no shipment from mango orchards of Sindh and Punjab will be allowed for export to UK and EU countries without hot water treatment with immediate effect irrespective of their origin (registered or unregistered orchards) till further orders.”

In May, the EU, where standards are stricter compared to the US and Australia, banned imports of Indian mangoes because of the fruit fly issue.

Because of the gravity of the situation and fearing the same fate like India, All Pakistan Fruit Exporter Importer and Merchant Association held a meeting with DPP DG Dr Mubarak on Saturday to consider options to avert a possible ban by the EU on Pakistan.

Spokesman for the association, Waheed Ahmed, told Dawn that Pakistan exported 24,000 tonnes of mango to EU markets last year, fetching $25-30 million.

In 2014 season, around 500 tonnes of mango at a price ranging between Rs200 and Rs250 per kg (C&F) were shipped from May 25 till June 20. During May-June period of last year, exporters shipped more than 5,000 tonnes.

Mango is exported either from orchards approved by the DPP or produce from unregistered farms after hot water treatment.

Ahmed said the exporters are likely to meet Pakistan Trade Minister based in Brussels on June 24 who is arriving in Islamabad. Exporters may also meet EU representative in the capital in the week ahead.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2014