London- Pakistani mango growers are hoping to take a slice out of India's export market thanks to tough new European regulations, British media reported today. The sweet yellow fruit is a contentious matter regionally; with both countries proclaiming it a national treasure and fighting over whose specimens are superior.
Economically, at least, mango exports are one area where Pakistan appears to have a slight edge.
According to respective official figures, Pakistan last year exported around 100,000 tonnes for a revenue of $48.6 million over India's 56,000 tonnes for $44.6 million. But a European Union (EU) ban on India's prized Alphonsos, known as the "King of Fruits", has presented Pakistan with a chance to widen the gap.
The embargo came into force on May 1 after many shipments were found to contain fruit flies and also affected four types of vegetable.
The experts had also being extolling the benefits of so-called "hot water treatment" which involves immersing the fruit in water at 52 degrees Celsius (126 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill larvae within the mango pulp. The practice has become a common substitute for fumigation that is seen as harmful to human health. Despite a growing sense of optimism, there are several factors holding back the export market. The fruit is most abundant in the southern Punjab, but the regional airport in Multan lacks direct flights to many major international capitals, meaning the mangoes must travel for hours by road to either Lahore or Karachi. The mango is a sensitive fruit and needs plenty of irrigation, while long periods in cold-storage can negatively impact on fruit quality.