Published: July 05, 2015

KARACHI: The rainfalls and heatwaves have damaged around 70 percent of mango crops in Punjab, leading to the fruit’s price hike and painting a bleak picture of its exports this year, an industry official said on Saturday.

 "Punjab accounts for 65 percent of the total annual mango production of 1.8 million tons in Pakistan,” Waheed Ahmed of Pakistan Fruits and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association said. “At least, 70 percent of mangoes in Punjab have perished due to harsh weather.” 

Ahmed said the country is unlikely to meet its mango export target of 100,000 tons set for the current export season.

 He added that the shortage of the fruit has also triggered price hike nationwide.

 He said the horticultural sector has become vulnerable to global warming and other climatic changes.

 He urged the government to develop strategy to avoid losses in agriculture sector from climate change.

 The prevailing situation is feared to pose irreparable damages to agricultural sector, ultimately creating a threat to national food security. 

The unusual cold weather in winter season also poses threat to various crops.

 "Growers, traders and exporters of mangoes have faced billions of rupees worth losses following the fresh damages,” he said.

 The country has so far exported 41,000 tons of mangoes worth $22.55 million. Mango has been exported to UAE, Gulf, Central Asian countries, European Union, Australia, US and Canada.

 "We are doing our best to meet the (export) target though its price increased 25 percent in the local market,” Ahmed said.

 He said, however, Pakistani mangoes are sold at $550/ton in the international market as compared to $300/ton last year because of its better quality and growing demand in Ramazan.

 The exporters are selling mangoes at an average price of $550/ton as compared to the price of $300/ton in the last year.

 He requested the federal government to take measures in coordination with provincial governments to minimise the losses to agricultural sector, which is backbone of national economy.

 "It is feared that the country may be forced to import a number of agricultural items if proper strategies to deal with climatic hazards are not formulated,” he said.