A delay in the Pakistani mango season is to be expected, which has everything to do with the spread of the coronavirus. One exporter is hopeful that the situation will normalize by the time the mango season takes off, in June. In this case the season could still be sucessful, with even more mangoes exported than the previous season.
Despite the grip of the coronavirus there is hope for a successful mango season, says Umair Mushtaq, Business Development Manager for Pakistani mango exporter Roomi Foods: “The mango season in Pakistan is expected to be better than previous season. However, due to the spread of Coronavirus, exports might start off with a delay. In this case the season would probably start around the month June. This delay might actually be an opportunity as the fruit will attain good maturity around the second week of June, and shipments going then will be very beautiful and ideal for export. Another possibility is even more delay due to Covid-19, resulting in lower volumes exported this year. So we’re in a 50/50 situation, and can’t predict exactly what will happen and when export markets will open completely to accept Pakistani mangoes again.”
According to Mushtaq all parts of the fruit trade are affected by the measures to counter the coronavirus: “Covid-19 can pretty much have an effect on all processes involved, from mango procurement and harvesting to processing, packing and getting the produce ready for export. We see there’s hardly any availability of commercial flights to transport our mangoes. And the cargo planes and freighters that are available had their costs tripled compared to the normal rates. This has an impact on our ability to compete on the market, based on price.”
There is still time left before the season starts, and so Mushtaq is hopeful the situation will get back to normal in time: “Last season more than 100,000 tons of Mangoes were exported from Pakistan. Obviously targets this year were initially higher than those of 2019, but Covid-19 might affect these targets adversely. Nevertheless, we are hopeful for the best results this season. Individual exporters and Pakistan overall will export a good volume this year, hopefully Covid-19 will normalize pretty soon to make this possible. Our government is helping export companies in their capacity to give some incentives. But unless international sea ports and airports become functional, business activity will certainly be affected.”
The mangoes from Pakistan are handled differently for every market they export to. “We are the only exporters from Pakistan to export vapor heat treated mangoes to Japan. Hot water dipped treated mangoes go to South Korea, UK and other European countries. Sorted, washed mangoes go to Arab Gulf States Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and other adjoining countries. We would like to see our mangoes go to Italy, Spain, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and other countries in the West. Aside from those markets, we’d also love to expand into countries in the East, such as China, Indonesia and Malaysia. Mango is known as the ‘King of fruits’, it’s very sweet and aromatic, and we want to introduce it to countries all over the world.” Mushtaq concludes.