Islamabad - President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday said with its best mango produce in the world, Pakistan had the potential to make a bigger export footprint of its “King of Fruits” with adoption of proper agrarian techniques.

“Introduction of mango’s new varieties through research, quality control and value addition can help Pakistan earn high revenues in the international markets,” the president said in his address at the Mango Festival, held here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. President Alvi said Pakistan’s sweet mangos could no doubt be presented before the world with great pride and mentioned in this regard his ‘mango diplomacy’ where he had sent a gift of mangoes to the world’s rulers, presidents and prime ministers.

This year, he said, the gift of mangoes has been sent to 37 countries compared with 17 the last year, he added. The president stressed that Pakistan needed to take measures to match the world in quality presentation of food produce to boost exports.

To prevent wastage of the perishable fruit, he said, proper techniques of pest control was important before its transportation to the local and international markets. Converting mangoes into pulp without use of preservatives could be a good idea to preserve the fruit for local use and export purpose, he added.

Promotion of agriculture sector is important to ensure food security

He said promotion of agricultural sector was also important to ensure food security, which could be an impending challenge in coming times.

Dr Alvi said to facilitate the traders, the government had taken effective steps such as ease of doing business, digitalization of business modes, grant of soft loans and offering entrepreneurship opportunities for women.

On the upcoming threat of COVID-19 virus, the president advised the masses to continue adhering to the precautionary measures, particularly use of face masks. “I appeal to you that help Pakistan maintain its edge in overcoming the coronavirus during previous waves of the virus,” he added.

President Alvi along with his wife Begum Samina Alvi visited the stalls of mangos where traders from Multan, Bahawalpur, Khairpur, Jhang, Mirpur Khas and Hyderabad had put on display variety of their mangos.

Earlier, Punjab Minister Bashir Ahmed Khawaja said Rahim Yar Khan, the fifth populated district of Punjab, was the top producer of mangoes in the province. He said having similar geographical distance to all provincial capitals, the Rahim Yar Khan was effectively transporting its produce to the rest of the country.

Parliamentary Secretary for Commerce Alia Hamza Malik said the agriculture sector as the main pillar of national economy contributed 19.2 percent of GDP and employed 38.5 percent of workforce.

She said Pakistan’s mango market offered a promising outlook as the government was engaging all stakeholders and had also set up a Working Group on Mango Production with involvement of farmers, growers, traders and Commerce Chambers.

She mentioned that the Australian government had recently established two mango processing units in Pakistan for their export to Australia.

Former President Rahim Yar Khan Chamber of Commerce and Industries Abdul Rao Mukhtar said of the total mango produce of 700,000 tonnes, Rahim Yar Khan alone produced 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes of mangos.

He emphasized on setting up special Mango Zone with processing units, cold storage chain, air cargo service and pulp-making section to avoid post-harvest loss.

The Mango Festival was organized by the Rahim Yar Khan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, and the Ministry of Commerce that showcased a wide assortment of local mangoes, ranging from the well-known varieties like Chaunsa, Sindhri, Dusehri, Anwar Ratol to the uncommon ones such as Coconut Ambri, Surkha Gulab and Samar Bahisht.