Mango season has started in Pakistan but the exporters association is saying that the coronavirus and climate change are likely to reduce exports 40% this year.
“Our target was 80,000 tons this year and $50 million,” says the head of the fruit and vegetable exporters and importers association, Waheed Ahmed. “But it will be 50,000 tons less this year.”
The association said that climate change and the global lockdown were to blame. There has been a sharp decline in demand of Pakistani mango by the importing countries. There has been a reduction in flight operations and an extraordinary increase in freight charges with an economic recession in international markets.
The All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association thus limited the export target to 80,000 metric tons this year which is 50,000 ton less than last year’s 130,000 ton. It expects revenue to take a hit.
Last year Pakistan earned $90 million but this year it is feared this will come down to $50 million.
Airlines have cut flights and tripled freight charges. Airlines that were charging Rs175 per kg last year are now demanding Rs550 for Europe. The freight charge of Rs80 to Gulf countries has gone up to Rs240.
Half or 55% of Pakistan’s mangos are exported by sea, 20% by air and 25% by land. Air exports will likely go down 70% this year. The export to Iran and Afghanistan over land is likely to encounter difficulties.
Domestically, the closure of hotels, academic institutions, tourism and shopping malls, has also reduced demand for juices.
Climate change has been felt for the last five years leading to low production. The mango crop is now taking an additional two weeks to mature and hence the harvesting period has increased. The crop faced several diseases. Punjab used to produce 70% in mangos but is looking at a 35% reduction. Sindh faces a 15% reduction from its usual 29%.