Pakistan’s mango exports to suffer huge loss

KARACHI: The Department of Plant Protection (DPP) in Pakistan is facing criticism for its poor strategy, which has led to a 20% production drop and cast doubt on the country’s ability to achieve its mango export target of 125,000 tonnes.

The controversy stems from the DPP’s introduction of a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on June 12, which made the hot water treatment of mangoes mandatory from approved plants only. This led to the closure of 90% of the 35 treatment plants, resulting in significant financial losses.

The non-approval of plants by the DPP has prevented them from receiving no-objection certificates (NOCs), causing an estimated loss of $44 million.

Around 2,500 skilled and unskilled workers have also lost their jobs due to the plant closures, and an additional 6,000 laborers associated with mango growers have also been adversely affected.

The discriminatory policies and favoritism of the DPP have raised concerns among industry stakeholders and associations. Workers have pointed out that modern treatment plants, involving substantial investments, have been forced to shut down, while certain plants have been allowed to operate despite not meeting the necessary criteria.

In response, the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers, and Merchants Association (PFVA) has called for urgent action. They have advised mango exporters to address the issue with relevant ministries, including the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Commerce, and Ministry of Agriculture.

The PFVA also recommended filing a petition in the high court to rectify the DPP’s baseless objections and discriminatory practices that impede mango exports.

The closure of a large number of hot water treatment plants also raises concerns about the quality and safety of exported mangoes.

“There is a need to establish agreed-upon international standards to avoid a potential ban on the export of fruit fly-infested mangoes from Pakistan”, the PFVA has warned.

DPP officials, including the Director General, have not commented on the situation.

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