Chinese business representatives met with Pakistani officials to explore opportunities for establishing mango processing facilities in the country. The objective is to produce value-added mango products for export to international markets.
Led by Chen Peng, the delegation included members such as Jinglian Yao, He Mingchun, Ashfaq Hussain, and Syed Shakeel Ahmad. They embarked on visits to mango-producing areas in Sindh and South Punjab, specifically in search of mango varieties that could be available from May to September. These mangoes would be processed in large quantities and exported after value addition, as informed by the agriculture department.
Chen Peng expressed their goal of identifying mango varieties most suitable for pulp production. Initially, they planned to procure and process 6,000 tons of mangoes.
In terms of preferences, Chen Peng recommended favoring mango varieties with an average weight of 300-500 grams, higher fiber and pulp content, and smaller stones.
During the meeting, Abdul Ghaffar Grewal, the Principal Scientist at the Mango Research Institute (MRI), shared valuable insights. He revealed that Pakistan produces 1.8 million tons of mangoes annually, but only a mere one percent, which amounts to 50,000 tons, is exported. Grewal highlighted specific varieties like White Chaunsa and Chenab Gold, which have the potential for extended fruit-bearing periods. Notably, Chenab Gold possesses a tough exterior that acts as a deterrent against fruit fly infestation.
Saqib Ali Ateel, Secretary of Agriculture, assured the Chinese delegation of the department’s unwavering support. He underscored the agriculture department’s encouragement of organic practices to protect crops from pests and diseases. Ateel also emphasized their guidance to orchard owners on minimizing or completely avoiding the use of pesticides.
Furthermore, Ateel shed light on the significance of agriculture in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This phase aims to enhance agricultural production, trade, and exports, thereby bolstering the agricultural sector’s growth and development.