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Pakistan’s Mango Exports Facing Major Setbacks

Export Challenges and Delays

Pakistan’s mango exports, already restricted in high-end markets, are facing significant challenges. As the mango export season is set to begin on May 20, 2024, the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) has yet to audit hot water treatment (HWT) plants, packhouses, and orchards, causing potential delays and compliance issues.

Impact of Rice Export Issues

Recent interceptions of Pakistani rice exports in Russia have exposed weaknesses in Pakistan’s plant quarantine system, prompting Russian warnings of a potential ban. The DPP has neither investigated nor taken the necessary actions, as demanded by Russia’s National Plant Protection Organization, Rosselkhoznadzor. This situation highlights the broader challenges the DPP faces in maintaining export standards for agricultural products.

Mango Export Statistics and Regulations

Pakistan produces approximately 1.88 million metric tons of mangoes annually, exporting between 0.13 and 0.16 million tons to 79 countries. Major export destinations include Afghanistan, the UAE, and Iran, with smaller quantities going to the EU and UK.

Countries like the EU, Iran, Australia, and Korea require mangoes to undergo hot water treatment, while Japan mandates vapor heat treatment. The US permits imports only at the Houston port, where shipments are irradiated upon arrival.

Compliance Issues and Infrastructure Challenges

Despite the importance of the DPP, it struggles with compliance due to inadequate infrastructure and a shortage of trained personnel. The DPP, part of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MoFS&R),

is responsible for regulating the import and export of agricultural commodities and ensuring biosecurity. However, its efforts are hampered by insufficient resources and support.

Audit and Accreditation Delays

The DPP has not completed the annual audit of HWT plants, packhouses, and orchards, nor has it communicated the list of accredited facilities to the US, Korea, Kenya, South Africa, and Japan.

The necessary arrangements for inspectors from Korea and Japan to oversee the pre-clearance program for mango exports have also not been finalized, further delaying the export process.

Internal Issues and Corruption

In the past two years, seven out of fifteen HWT plants have been suspended by Iran for issuing fake treatment certificates and failing to comply with standards. Despite the presence of DPP officers and technical

personnel during operations, some plants have bypassed proper disinfestation procedures, issuing fraudulent certificates to extend the shelf life of untreated mangoes.

Political Pressure and Lack of Enforcement

DPP officers are reluctant to enforce disinfestation standards due to complaints and inquiries initiated by plant owners. Political pressure has prevented the DPP from taking strict action against plants that issue fake certificates.

Instead, DPP officers face inquiries and accusations, undermining their ability to enforce standards.

Future Outlook

With the mango export season imminent, there is concern that the DPP may approve plants without proper audits, repeating past mistakes. Authorities must ensure that no plant operates without meeting the importing countries’

standards and take legal action against those issuing fake certificates. Failure to comply with phytosanitary requirements

risks bans on mango exports to the EU and Iran. Farmer organizations stress the need for strict enforcement to maintain high-quality exports and protect Pakistan’s international reputation.

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