Dubai: Fifteen varieties of mangoes from the five provinces of Pakistan are on display and available for visitors to enjoy at the two-day Pakistan Mango Festival 2022 that opened on Friday night at the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) in Oud Metha.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, senior officials from Dubai Government, diplomats from various countries, heads of trade missions and business councils and business professionals graced the opening event.
Not only the aroma of fresh Pakistani mangoes wafted in the air at the mango festival, but the culture and tradition of Pakistan were also highlighted. Everything was also in mango colours or has the fruit as a theme — from the yellow carpet that welcomed the guests to a robot roving around delivering mangoes to visitors, the mango-inspired Harley Davidson motorcycle, as well as the various dishes, salads and desserts featuring mango ingredients.
Sheikh Nahyan visited the stalls featuring mangoes of different varieties, including: Chaunsa, Langra, Baigan Phali, Fajri, Sunehra, Anwar, Ratol, Botel, Kaiser, Badami, Dussehri, Sindhri, Neelum, Lal Badshah and Saroli. He also looked at the different products from Pakistan made out of mangoes.
Mangoes are heart-shaped fruits and Pakistan Consul General Hassan Afzaal said it’s apt that the two-day festival has its theme — Connecting Hearts, The Mangolicious Way.
“Very happy we have a number of diplomats here; the main idea is to promote the different varieties to the world,” he added.
South Korean consul-general Moon Byung-Jun, who came with his wife Jiwon Kim, told Gulf News: “It’s our first time to attend this unique event and we truly enjoy the Pakistani mangoes.”
The two-day, which concludes today, is organised by the Pakistan Consulate, Pakistan Business Council and PAD. In attendance were diplomats and trade mission representatives from various countries, including, Afghanistan, Albania, Ghana, Egypt, Bulgaria, Chile, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Maldives, Bosnia and Herzegovena, Lithuania, UK, USA, South Korea, France and the Philippines, among others.
Mangoes for a cause
PAD President Faisal Ikram said: “Pakistan Mango Festival is a unique way of celebrating connectivity and inclusivity that reflects the mission of PAD.”
He added the mango festival will also benefit the Pakistan Medical Centre — “our landmark project, which is an exemplary model of tolerance that provides quality health-care to people of all nationalities in the UAE.”
Dawood Sharif, head of education committee at PAD, added: “Pakistan Mango Festival is one of best experiences we had so far in Dubai. We have witnessed huge turnout during the event and high-level delegates from many countries visited us. Some guests, who normally thought mango has just five or six varieties, were educated through quizzes and competitions about the huge variety of the fruit and the possibilities of using mango in different dishes. They also enjoyed colourful entertainment. It was an informal and international platform with a two-fold approach — to promote tourism as well as mango export.
Day 2 of the festival today (July 2) is an open event for the community. There are interactive games for adults and children, cooking competitions, a mango art workshop, sports, shopping, photo booth and much more. There will also be a #MangoForACause stall, from which all proceeds will be used to support free healthcare at Pakistan Medical Centre.
Majority of Pakistani mangoes sales occur between May to August
Pakistan sent a box of mangoes as a gift to Queen Elizabeth on her coronation in 1953
Nearly 1.8 million tonnes of mangoes are produced in Pakistan annually
Pakistan is the world’s fifth largest producer of mangoes
Pakistan is the third largest exporter of mangoes, which are sent to over 50 countries
125,000 tonnes of Pakistani mangoes were exported in 2020; of which 33,019 tonnes were imported by the UAE