USAID helping Pakistani mango farmers access world markets

KARACHI, Aug 19 (APP): U.S. Consul General in Karachi, Brian Heath, visited a mango farm in Tando Hafiz Shah to inspect automated mango graders and processors provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

A statement on Friday said that USAID Deputy Mission Director Denise Herbol and Deputy Provincial Director Patrick Brady were also present.

‘The United States is helping Pakistan boost domestic and international sales of Pakistani agricultural products, including mangoes’, said Consul General Heath.

‘We want to make Pakistani mangoes as competitive as they can be in international markets’, he said.

Pakistan is the fifth largest mango producing country in the
world, but exports less than eight percent of its production.
‘Pakistani mango exports to the U.S. doubled last year, setting a record at 184 metric tons, and there is even more potential in this area’, said Heath.

USAID, through its Agricultural Market Development (AMD) project, is increasing access to new markets for Pakistani mango farmers, while ensuring better prices through improving compliance with international grading standards and export protocols.

USAID supplied top of the line automated mango graders imported from one of the world’s leading manufacturers as well as training farmers how to use them to the best advantage.

USAID launched the U.S. Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural
Market Development in February 2015 to increase production and sales of products, including meat, vegetables, mangoes and citrus. This partnership promotes cooperation among farmers, processers, exporters and buyers of agricultural products from Pakistan.

Speaking Earlier, the US Consul General Karachi, Brian Heath, said Pakistan produced over 1.7 million tonnes of mangoes last year but only 8 percent of the total could be exported.

He said Pakistan was fifth biggest mango producer in the world but the country was yet to realize its export potential.

“One of the goals of the US partnership is to help Pakistan’s economy to grow and farmers have a role to play in developing the economy,” he observed.

Heath said through the USAID executed agricultural projects, the US wants to help Pakistani farmers learn modern techniques.

He informed that the automated grader provided by the USAID’s Agriculture Market Development (AMD) to SMGE could process 2 tonnes of mangoes of 7 different sizes in just one hour.

The Consul General acknowledged that though his government could not provide such equipment and facilities to most of the farmers in Pakistan yet through their cooperation they could set an example of modern farming for the other farmers to follow.

The AMD’s Peter Dickrell shared his experiences of interaction with the farmers in Pakistan and expressed hope for development of the sector.

“I have never seen a place like Pakistan with such possibility for  success and future growth,” he observed.
Mehmood Nawaz Shah of SMGE said that his organization wanted to develop modern facilities which the other farmers could copy to bring quality to their produce and increase their exports.

“Such ventures also help increase employment generation in the rural areas,” he said.

He expressed hope that the partnership with USAID would bring about an improvement in horticulture sector in Pakistan.