Rashad M. Balal, Dr. M. Mumtaz Khan, M. Adnan Shahid and M. Waqas
Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture 38040 Faisalabad.
Pakistan is an agricultural country and production of fruits is the part and parcel of this sector. Mango ( Mangifera indica L.) is the king of fruits and one of the most important fruit crop in the world as well as in Pakistan. It’s a tropical, climacteric fruit liked by all due to its taste, flavour and excellent nutritional properties. It is a delicious fruit being grown in more than 100 countries of the world. Today, the annual estimated world over production of mango is over 25million tones. In Pakistan, total area under fruit cultivation is 853.4 thousand hectares with the production of 7178.8 thousand tones while area under mango cultivation is 167.5 thousand hectares with the production of 1,732 thousand tones being the second major fruit crop of Pakistan after citrus and is ranked fourth in the world for its production. Mexico exports 194.5 thousands tones being 30.20% of the total trade, followed by Brazil (16.08%), Pakistan (7.38%), India (6.45%) and Philippines (5.62%). Major exporters of the fruit are Mexico, Philippines and Pakistan. According to an estimate, Pakistan produces 8.5% of world’s mango and mainly exports to Middle East, Iran, Germany, Japan, China and Hong Kong making its valuable contribution as an important foreign currency earning fruit crop.
Nature has blessed Pakistan with agro-climatic conditions which permit quality production of mango. Per hectare average yield of Pakistan is 11.20 tones/hac which is on the low side as compared to the other major mango producing countries of the world e.g. China (11.4 tones/hac.), Brazil (12.6 tones/hac.). Agro-climatic conditions of Pakistan may favor enhanced production if new developed techniques and proper management practices are adopted. Among 1595 varieties of mangoes known, only few (25 to 30) are being grown on commercial scale. Most of the countries cultivate varieties like Haden, Tommy Atkins, Kent and Keitt. While most important commercial cultivars of Pakistan are Dashehari, Anwar Ratul, Langra, Chaunsa, Sindhri, Maldha, Fajri. More than half of mango area (104.9 thousand hectares) lies in Punjab followed by Sindh (50.0 thousand hectares) with minor acreage in Baluchistan (1.4 thousand hectares) and NWFP (0.3 thousand hectares). Districts which are important regarding cultivation of mango in Pakistan are Bahawalpur, Dera Ismail Khan,Hyderabad, Multan, Khanewal Sahiwal, Muzaffar Garh, Sadiqabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Vehari and Thatta.
Mango has excellent nutritional properties. High vitamin A and C contents, both being anti-oxidants help reduce risk of cancer as well as reduce the fast process of aging, making it a choicest fruit all across the globe. Pakistani mango being superb in all the qualities is sold all over the world at good prices. Mango is mainly used as fresh fruit but its use in salads and pickles is also being practiced.
Mango is a valuable source of foreign exchange for many countries including Pakistan. Unfortunately, Mango is facing a strange dilemma that on one side it has emerged as an important exportable commodity and on the other hand the economic life of our groves, productivity, yield and quality has gone down.
Although, Soil and climatic conditions in Pakistan support mango production in terms of yield and quality. However, the country is not able to acquire the desired results. Number of factors contributes towards low production of mango. Unchecked use of unhealthy seeds forming diseased seedlings, Insect attack (mango mealy bug, fruit fly, mango weevil, scales, mites), alternate bearing, mango malformation (vegetative or reproductive) and diseases (powdery mildew, anthracnose, quick decline, sooty mold, fruit rot and stem blight) are the greatest threat to the industry in major mango producing countries, including Pakistan. Also, low pollination, less fruit setting (less than 0.1%), high fruit drop percentage, unnecessary stresses (injury) and improper management practices during budding or grafting, time of irrigation, pruning and time of application of fertilizers are contributing substantially to the downfall of the industry. Adding to the ever increasing problems are the post-harvest losses contributing almost 40-50%.
These problems arise mainly due to non-availability of nutrients from the soil, inefficient use of resources, unawareness about the ripening and quality maintenance practices. Still, we are not able to cope with the problems arising due to ignorance of farmers and facilities involving storage and marketing. It is now, need of the hour that Government should take initiatives to educate farmers, formulate policies supporting infrastructural development, access to the markets and provision of facilities at low costs.