Pakistani mangoes are always high in demand all over the world. However, mango farmers in Multan are facing a new problem. The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has imposed a ban on the use of calcium carbide to artificially ripen mangoes.
Talking to SAMAA TV, PFA official Jehangir said calcium carbide is harmful for human health.
Farmers usually pick mangoes when they are green and put small packets of calcium carbide in the crates before transporting them to the market. By the time the fruit reaches the market, it is ripe and ready to be consumed.
However, this ripening comes at a cost. Calcium carbide is a highly reactive chemical and has carcinogenic properties, which means that in some extreme cases it can even cause cancer. It can also cause ulcers and respiratory problems. Due to the health risks associated with the chemical, the use of calcium carbide for ripening fruit is banned in many countries, including neighbouring India.
The PFA official said that the farmers should use ethylene gas instead, as it is a natural means of ripening fruit.