A variety of Pakistani mangoes displayed at the Jeddah festival. Image Credit: Sabq file

Islamabad: Pakistan’s fruit and vegetable exporters fear the country’s mango crop may be reduced by 20 per cent this year due to the adverse climate change effects during the ongoing season.

The All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association (PFVA) forecasts that the country’s production of mango, often called the king of fruits, will fall to 1.44 million metric tonnes this year, down by 20% from its annual capacity of 1.8 million metric tonnes.

Waheed Ahmed, the patron-in-chief of PFVA, expressed concerns about climate change’s impact on the mango crop. He cited a “prolonged winter and delayed summer arrival”, resulting in decreased mango production. Changing weather patterns have also heightened the vulnerability of mango orchards to diseases, he said. Ahmed called upon research institutes and provincial agriculture departments to offer support and knowledge to mango farmers, enabling them to alleviate the adverse impacts of climate change.

Projected mango exports 2023

This season’s target export volume is set at 125,000 metric tonnes with the potential to earn Pakistan approximately $100 million in foreign exchange, he claimed. The mango export season is scheduled to commence on May 20, 2023.

However, the decline in production along with quality issues stemming from climatic effects, as well as increasing freight, packaging, and transport costs, have posed significant challenges for mango exporters, according to PFVA. Ahmed also raised concerns about ongoing law and order issues, and political instability which he said could lead to disruptions in delivery and may impact export performance.

As the world’s fifth-largest mango producer, Pakistan not only caters to its domestic market but also exports a significant portion of its harvest to the Middle East, Central Asia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and select European Union countries. In Pakistan, Punjab accounts for 70% of mango production, followed by Sindh with 29% and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 1% only. Approximately 50% of mangoes are exported by sea, 35% by land, and 15% by air.

In recent years, climate change has not only affected mango crops but also other agricultural sectors in Pakistan. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events pose significant risks to farmers and food security. To address the impact of the global climate crisis, farmers and agricultural associations have urged the government to introduce and promote climate-smart agriculture strategies that enhance productivity, build resilience, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions