Trial shipment of mango to
Mohammad Hussain Khan
July 4, 2011: THE first-ever trial shipment of mango for
high-end super markets of Europe dispatched directly from
two orchards in Sindh is indeed a pioneering effort. Eight
such shipments are taking place from all over the country.
Pack houses have been set up at the two farms where mango
fruits go through hot water treatment amidst modern farming
practices, a pre-requisite for sale in European and other
developed countries’ super markets. Two more pack houses are
being set up in the province.
The growers who have exported mangoes directly from their
farms are Global GAP (good agriculture practices) certified
farmers. They have been improving their farming practices
over the years.
As part of the USAID project, the farmers were provided with
equipment for hot water treatment, grading, packing, blast
chilling and cold storage besides picking of fruits as per
required methodology. After applying modern farming
techniques, the fruit—Sindhri– was directly exported in
refer containers from farm to seaport to foreign markets
which is inexpensive as compared to by air freight.
Normally growers lease out their farms to contractors who
market the crop the way they prefer. Orchard owners borrow
money from the contracts which is adjusted against the
However, for the global GAP certified farmers, pack houses
are an innovation and a new experience. They invest their
labour, fruit and built infrastructure for the pack house.
These farmers look forward for government’s research and
Besides, trial shipment, some commercial shipments were also
made by farmers through private exporters in Karachi. The
exporters got the fruit processed at their pack houses and
offered them reasonable price like Rs35 per kg for sending
it to different markets. The exporters, generally, have been
sending mango to markets in the Middle East and not to the
high-value super markets of Europe due to the absence of
facilities that now have been made available.
The trial shipment has been made to the port of Netherlands
(Holland) in Rotterdam which is due to reach there on July
Two USAID officials working with the project would be in
Holland reporting the arrival of the consignment and
markets where the fruit is displayed. They would send
reports about the response of the market with reference to
any shortcomings that were not taken care of.
Under modern techniques, mango picking is done carefully to
avoid damage to the fruit followed by hot water treatment.
Mangoes are placed on a
sorting panel to move at snail’s pace, allowing farm workers
to sort out defective ones. Then they are washed before
being dipped in hot water for three to five minutes at 52
degree Centigrade. Grading facility is there too and the
fruit is, then, packed in cartons.
“Hot water treatment kills anthracnose disease if any on the
fruit,” says Zain Shah, one of the two growers who sent
their trial shipment to Netherlands. The sea route is
inexpensive for export to Europe and the government should
assist mango farmers in this respect. “We have invested
Rs500,000 in terms of fruit’s cost, processing, electricity
and labour charges besides raising civil infrastructure on
our land,” says Zain Shah and expects the government to come
forward and share the growers’ burden.
According to Junaid Shah, who sent eight tons of mango in
trial shipment, construction of pack house cost him Rs10
million besides other expenses of processing and farm labour.
He adds that he also handled some commercial shipments to
Dubai, Jeddah and Iran. “Capacity of hot water treatment
plant is just one ton per hour and it needs to be enhanced,”
He had been exporting mango through private exporters but
often the fruits over ripened causing him losses. “If the
fruit reaches the markets in better shape only then we get
the required payment and a refer container sells more
expensively than a normal open container,” he says.
The blast chillers and cold storage maintain cold chain
right from farm to market to avoid over ripening of the
preserve it for another 30 days. According to a researcher
Abdul Qadeer Durrani, shelf-life of Pakistani mango is 35
days after hot water treatment. He has been dealing with
mango for 27 years and says that hot water treatment kills
bacteria from the surface of the mango.
As far as markets of US and Japan are concerned they link
import of fruit to irradiation and vapour hot treatment (VHT)
plants respectively. Trade Development Authority of Pakistan
is sending trial shipment to Japan in July where Pakistani
mango has been given access following a visit by President
Asif Ali Zardari. TDAP has floated EoI [expression of
interests] for VHT plants whereas a huge cost is involved
for the irradiation plant.
Another GAP certified grower Imdad Nizamani — who had sent
mango after processing it through same technology in Karachi
privately – says that similar shipment was sent to Europe
but it was not that successful at that time.
The fruit was given the same modern hot water treatment by
the exporter in Karachi. “But pack houses are set up at
farms for the first time in Sindh. It will certainly make a
difference. Let us wait for shipment results, he remarks.
Growers who export their fruit to markets of Iran and Dubai
don’t get better margins in absence of modern agriculture
practices where there is a very wide room for improvement.
Their profit margin through export could be as high as
Rs150,000-Rs200,000 per acre if they adopt modern farm
management conditions instead of giving them to contractors
— who give them Rs35,000 to Rs50,000 per acre.
Courtesy: The DAWN