ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s mango trade with Iran seems to be under threat due to the negligence of authorities who are not following due procedures and issuing phyto-sanitary certificates to certain companies for exports, despite the fact that the fruit has not received the necessary hot water treatment.
Three of the country’s consignments were intercepted last year, where the fruit was found to be infected with fruit flies. Iran has already banned Pakistan’s kinnow imports due to the same reason.
Of the total 60,000 tons of mango exports, 15,000 tons (25%) are exported to Iran.
The government, on the one hand, is making grand claims of boosting exports through new measures, while on the other, the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) is taking adverse steps, which would eventually hurt the national interest.
“The DPP has recently issued a phyto-sanitary certificate to a Multan-based company named Ramzan Associates for exporting 95 tons of mangoes to Iran without following the due procedure and standard modus operandi,” said a source in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
“The certificates were issued without examining if the commodity had undergone the essential hot water treatment or not,” the source added.
According to ministry sources, product inspection through an expert committee along with hot water treatment at 48-degree centigrade for at least 60 minutes is mandatory for the phyto-sanitary certificate.
“It is strange that such certificates have been issued in Multan without a proper inspection process,” the source remarked.
Sources said such inspections had only been shown on paper and nothing had been done on the ground to avoid another interception, which could lead to a ban on mango exports to Iran.
It has also been learnt that instead of the expert committee, a sole inspector has been given the task to clear the procedure and issue phyto-sanitary certificates.
In case Pakistan loses the Iranian market, it would have serious repercussions for the other markets as well including the European Union.
Talking to The Express Tribune, DPP Deputy Director Multan Allah Dita Abid confirmed that the department had granted a phyto-sanitary certificate to Ramzan Associates for the export of 95 tons of mangoes to Iran.
However, he said he had no knowledge about the inspection and hot water treatment because despite being the authorised officer in the province, he did not issue the certificates.
He agreed that inspection and hot water treatment in Punjab had not started as yet because mangoes had not reached the market.
When contacted, Ramzan Associates CEO Chaudhry Amjad acknowledged that the company had received the phyto-sanitary certificate for mango exports to Iran.
When asked how he got the certificate as mangoes from Punjab had not yet reached the market, he said he had brought them from Sindh.
However, he had no satisfactory answer when asked why he brought the mangoes to Multan by bearing an additional transportation cost rather than shipping them after treatment from ports in Sindh.
Source:The Express Tribune