Climate Change Slashes Pakistan's Mango Production and Export Targets

Climate change continues to severely affect Pakistan's mango industry, leading to a significant reduction in production and export targets. With increased costs and government inaction, industry leaders are concerned about the future. Despite setting an export target of 1,00,000 metric tonnes, achieving it seems uncertain.

PTI | Karachi | Updated: 22-05-2024 11:27 IST | Created: 22-05-2024 11:27 IST
Climate Change Slashes Pakistan's Mango Production and Export Targets
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Already battered by the spike in input costs, Pakistan's mango production is set to significantly reduce for a third year running due to the impact of climate change and a scaled-down export target for 2024.

Industry leaders, fruit farmers, exporters and weather scientists are all worried about the increasing impact of climate change that will not just reduce the mango yield but also decrease the foreign exchange and have claimed that the government has not done anything to mitigate the losses.

The All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers, Merchants Association has set a target of 1,00,000 metric tonnes of mango exports in the current season but says that they may not even be able to achieve that. This target translates to approximately USD 90 million of export income.

Pakistan's mangoes are exported mainly to China, the USA, Turkey, Japan, Iran, Afghanistan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Central Asian countries. Mangoes are the most exported fruit from Pakistan because of their many varieties, quality and flavour.

"The mango industry and exporters usually start the export process at their respective warehouses from May 20. But this year, there is a delay, yet again, due to climate change and other problems," Saleem Waheed Ahmed, head of the Association said.

Sheraz Maqsood, one of the biggest fruit farmers in Khanewal, Punjab province told PTI that this year due to various reasons, climate change among them, the production of mangoes in Punjab province is down by almost 30-35 per cent while in Sindh, it is less by 20 per cent.

"In Pakistan, the most mangoes are grown in Punjab province, which contributes 70 per cent; Sindh produces 29 per cent and one per cent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It totals to approximately 1.8 million metric tonnes of mangoes annually," he said.

The majority of the production is consumed by the local market, he said.

Ali Zia, who owns one of the biggest mango export businesses in Karachi, said: "Last year's export target had fallen short by around 25,000 metric tonnes and the year before that by around the same number. Due to the changing climate, a shortfall of 0.6 million metric tonnes was expected this year." He, however, said the estimate could change as the season progresses.

"We had an average of 1,25,000 metric tonnes of exports each year. This year, we have revised the export target to 1,00,000 metric tonnes," he added.

Explaining the effects of climate change on mango and other fruit and vegetable production, Wash Dev Khatri, deputy director and weather scientist at the Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics, here said, "The climate change effects are very visible in many parts of Pakistan ... meaning, we are having longer winters, more rainfall, thunderstorms and flash flooding and the summer started late but with increased hot weather." Khatri said these rapid climate changes have also led to a shift in seasonal patterns. "All this affects the cultivation, growth and production of fruits and vegetables. It is notably significant in seasonal fruits such as mangoes grown in orchards in Pakistan," he said.

"It has also changed the pattern of agricultural diseases in Pakistan," he added.

Khatri said there was a need for more research so that orchards of mangoes and other fruits develop sufficient endurance to sustain against tough weather conditions and reduction in disease resistance.

But it is not just the climate change that is troubling the mango industry. Waheed's main grouse is that apart from the climate challenges the mango growing farmers are facing, the government has not done anything to reduce their burden.

"The climate change is one major factor. But we have also faced significant increases in costs of electricity, gas, transportation, garden maintenance, pesticides and water management, making it difficult to compete for exports," Waheed said.

He added that the mango processing, packaging and warehousing, was an over 100 billion industry that employed millions of people.

One of the poorest countries in the Global South, Pakistan is at the forefront of the changing climate and has been facing increasing instances of extreme weather events. On Tuesday, authorities in Pakistan urged people to stay indoors as the country was hit by an extreme heat wave with Punjab province directed to shut all schools for a week. In contrast, April 2024 was the wettest for Pakistan since 1961, data from the national weather centre showed.

Poor winter snowfall, melting glaciers much ahead of the summer season and devastating floods in monsoon are just some of the major problems that Pakistan faces.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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