City Of Mangoes: Sindh's Mirpur Khas

City Of Mangoes: Sindh's Mirpur Khas
Mirpur Khas, a city in the Sindh province of Pakistan, is famous for its mango cultivation. It is known as the "City of Mangoes" and has been celebrating a mango festival every year since 1955. The city hosts the National Mango and Summer Fruits Festival, where growers showcase their mangoes and compete for prizes. People from all over the country and even from abroad visit the festival to taste and buy these delicious mangoes. Mango cultivation in Mirpur Khas has been a traditional practice passed down through generations.

Mirpur Khas benefits from a favourable climate, fertile soil, and sufficient water from the River Indus, making it an ideal place for growing mango orchards. The region cultivates various popular mango varieties like Sindhri, Chaunsa, Langra, Anwar Ratol, Dusehri, Saroli, Neelam, and more. Mirpur Khas mangoes are well-known for their exceptional taste, enticing fragrance and high quality, making them highly valued both locally and internationally. The mango season in Mirpur Khas starts in May and lasts until September.

Pakistan is the fifth-largest mango producer in the world, harvesting over 1.8 million tonnes of mangoes annually, following India, China, Thailand and Indonesia. Mangoes are grown on approximately 167,000 hectares of land in Pakistan, with an average yield of around 10 tons per hectare. Sindh and Punjab are the main provinces involved in mango production, with Sindh contributing about 32% of the country's total output. While the mango cultivation area and production in Sindh have remained stable from 2014 to 2022, there has been a slight decrease in yield during this period.

Mango exports are crucial for Pakistan's economy. One special variety of mangoes called Sindhri mangoes plays a significant role in this. Pakistan is the third-largest mango exporter, sending mangoes to more than 50 countries. About 150,000 tonnes of Pakistani mangoes are exported, with the United Arab Emirates being the largest importer. However, a substantial amount of mangoes is consumed within Pakistan. To ensure the mangoes remain fresh and of good quality during transportation, they are carefully packed and undergo quality checks. Exporters adhere to international rules and standards to deliver the best mangoes.

Both India and Pakistan are important players in the global mango market, with the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom being significant destinations for mango exports from both countries, driven by the demand from the South Asian diaspora. However, India's share in mango exports has been limited due to sanitary and phytosanitary issues. Pakistan, known for exporting high-quality mango varieties, also needs to improve the quality and standards of its mangoes to enhance its competitiveness in the global export market.

Some well-known orchards famous for their high-quality mangoes in Mirpur Khas include Gondal Farms, Raja Khaskheli Fruit Farm and Kachelo Fruit Farms. Kachelo Fruit Farms, spanning over 1,000 acres, cultivates 12 mango varieties.

Pakistan faces tough competition from countries like India, Mexico, Brazil and Thailand in the mango export market. These countries have higher quality standards, better packaging, branding and easier access to markets. However, Pakistan has its own specific challenges in mango exports too, such as expensive shipping costs, a lack of refrigerated containers, and a need for improvement in the supply chain. Export procedures are complicated and time-consuming. Mango trees are also at risk from pests and diseases like fruit flies, mango hoppers, anthracnose and powdery mildew. Limited access to credit and financial support makes it difficult for mango growers to improve their farms, adopt modern farming methods and effectively manage cultivation risks.

To overcome these challenges, it is important for the government and private sector to collaborate. They should improve the infrastructure for quality control, ensure smooth access to export markets, invest in transportation and logistics, promote effective pest and disease management practices, and provide financial support. These joint efforts will increase productivity, profitability and economic growth in the mango industry in Sindh.