KARACHI: Pakistan’s mango exports, which will start next week this season, are at increasing risk from the ongoing strike by goods transporters in Karachi.
Fruit exporters fear a disruption to mango shipments, beginning May 20, as talks between the Sindh government and associations of transporters have reached a deadlock.
The goods carriers’ strike entered the fifth day on Saturday. They were protesting against the 24-hour a day restriction imposed by the Sindh High Court (SHC) on the movement of heavy vehicles within Karachi’s jurisdiction.
“Perishable fruit and vegetable exports are taking a severe hit due to this strike. Now mango exports are also under threat,” commented Ahmad Jawad, Regional Chairman of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) Standing Committee on Horticulture Exports.
Annually, Pakistan exports mangoes worth about $70 million, but a lot depends on the quality of fruit and the price it fetches in international markets. About 70% of Pakistani mangoes are exported to Dubai from where the fruit is shipped to other destinations in Gulf countries.
Afghanistan’s border was closed that had already created problems for the fruit and vegetable exporters. If the transporters’ strike continued for a few more days, it would spark serious trouble for mango growers, exporters and the whole supply chain, he added.
All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association former chairman Waheed Ahmed voiced fears that the situation could particularly harm the crop of Sindhri, a popular mango variety grown in Sindh orchards, which was in the middle of its season.
The strike has also badly disrupted ongoing exports of garlic and potatoes. According to fruit exporters, it has created congestion of containers at Karachi Port and their clearance will take a long time even after the end of the strike. They urged the Sindh government to immediately intervene and end the strike at the earliest.