Who does not like mangoes? And if those mangoes are from Pakistan, it’s a whopper. Due to its taste, flavour and overall quality Pakistani mangoes are always considered an elite product and are sold at a premium price when compared to their near competitors. Internationally the stores that sell Pakistani mangoes also sell mangoes from Mexico, India and couple of other countries. Generally, mangoes are sold in boxes of 2 – 10 Kgs. The biggest box would be of mangoes from Mexico and it would be the least priced too. Next comes Indian mangoes that have a slightly smaller packaging yet are priced slightly higher than their Mexican counterparts. Talking about Pakistani mangoes, the term, “half the size, double the price” (generally used for an entirely different product line) applies. These buggers have the smallest packaging, highest prices and still the earlier ones to go off the shelves.
Good. No wonder that:
- Some recent reports indicate that Pakistan is the 5th largest mango producer
- Pakistan markets mangoes in 25 traditional markets in Asia, Europe, and the US
- Pakistan exported over a dozen varieties of mangoes last year
- Sindhri, Summer Chaunsa, White Chaunsa, Fajri, Ratawala/112, Kaiser, Anwar Ratol and Lal Badshah were more popular
- exported close to 120,000 tons in 2019 and anticipated more in 2020
- fetched an export price of $650-800 per ton in last season
- foreign exchange earnings from mangoes exports was over $80 million 2019 and expected more in 2020
- hope to attain a five-year high export volume of 115,000 tons, thanks to the rupee depreciation
- adoption of global standards for nurturing mangoes on trees and tree plantation in orchards also helped achieve the higher crop size this year
Still a huge potential is available for growth in mango export not only to the existing markets but to new markets where marketing effort is being increased to start exporting or to increase volumes of existing exports. It is estimated that by further focusing on improving quality of the product and through concerted efforts of private exporters, export promotion bureau and Commercial sections of Pakistan foreign offices abroad dollar amount of export can be increased by up to 20% next year and so on.
But is that really enough? Should we be content with $100 or $120 million per year? Are we exploiting full export potential of our premium products? Are we exploring all options of adding and maximizing value? Are we using “aam kay aam, guthhlion kay daam” in its true sense? I think we know that answers to these questions is a big No. We may be doing good, but we can do better, and we are NOT even near our best.
One such missed, or not so much missed but just another, opportunity is mango products.
Some of the challenges limiting mango, or for that matter of most fresh fruits, exports generally are:
- Product’s short shelf life
- High packaging and handling cost
- High (air freight and refrigerated) freight cost
- Seasonal in nature
The interesting part is that some of above challenges can be addressed by exporting mango products rather than raw mangoes. If instead of, and in addition to, exporting raw mangoes Pakistan adds value, produce mango products such as mango juice, chunks, pulp and chunks, not only the export volume but market can be bigger, packaging and handling cost can be reduced, freight changes can be significantly lowered and products can be sold round the year.
Based on information collected from a report by Hassan Naqvi, staff reporter, PakistanToday.com.pk (reference at the end) by converting mango fruit into natural pulp, controlling wastage and using Aseptic packing can increase the shelf life up to 24 months and could help increase world exports of Pakistani mango products by up to $500 million. Another interesting fact is post Corona virus situation may make this opportunity even more workable. With increasing health consciousness, especially in the post corona world, several market segments are likely to prefer fruits and fruit products cleaned and packed in a controlled industrial safe environment over open and loose fruits, hence the existing opportunity get even enhanced for mango pulp and chunks.
Increasing overall exports of mangoes and mango products from existing $80 million to more than 6 times i.e. $500 million is not easy, but doable. It will require concerted efforts from various groups. What needs to be then is:
By the growers:
- Continue growing good quality mangoes
- Work on improving the per acre yield
- Work on improving the growing area for mangoes
- Work on improving the overall quality of finished product
- Work on controlling the post harvest wastage, less wastage more mangoes for sale/export
- Work on converting the unavoidable wastage into pulp and chunks
- Use pulp sterilization and aseptic packing for natural favour and longer shelf life
By the exporters:
- Continue maintaining and growing the existing mango export markets and volumes
- Add new varieties to the export mix
- Explore new markets
By industrial manufacturing industry:
- Design efficient but cost-effective mango processing plants
- Design and produce pulp processing plans that meet international hygiene and quality standards
- Introduce new technology to improve quality of finished products
- Make financing arrangements with banks for new plants offerings
By the banks:
- Design and market financing packages for industrial plant manufacturers
- Design and market financing packages for mango growers for mango and mango processing plants
- Design and market financing solutions for mango exporters for export financing
- Capitalize on and invest in mango and mango products export and processing opportunities
- Establish mango processing plants near the farms
- Enhance current mango pulp processing facilities
- Enhance current mango chunks processing facilities
- Upgrade the mango, mango pulp and mango chunks processing facilities to meet target export market standards
By the government:
- Upgrade legislation that facilitates above objectives
- Enforce regulations against chemical pulp processing and in support of pulp sterilization and aseptic packing
- Pakistan Standards Organization to update relevant processing and quality standards meeting export markets
- Export promotion bureau to conduct research/opportunity reports for mango pulp and mango chuck exports
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June 19, 2020
The writer is a professional marketer and engineer with good work exposure to governments, and businesses and industries in the private sector in several countries. Idea is to take the first step in adding value to anything that one gets exposed to instead of just complaining about the same.