Mangoes from Pakistan are very popular in the UAE
Dubai - Imports to go up due to bumper crop and traders ready with corrugated cardboard boxes
Pakistani mangoes have hit the UAE markets with the first shipment arriving in Dubai from Karachi on Thursday.
Sindhri and Almas have thus made their way back to Dubai. Sindhri, as evident from its name, is grown in Sindh, is often considered one of the best varieties of mangoes in the world because of its sweetness, golden colour and size.
Importers of Pakistani mangoes, based in Dubai's Al Aweer Fruit Market, said the first shipments were sold out within two days of arrival.
Mohammad Afzal, managing director of Bukhamas Trading Company, who has been importing mangoes from Pakistan to Dubai and Muscat for the last 38 years, said there is a bumper mango crop in Pakistan this year.
"We may be able to increase our exports to the UAE and other GCC countries this year," Afzal said, claiming that his company is one of the major importers of mango stocks from Pakistan in the region.
He said the UAE, especially Dubai, is one of the biggest markets for Pakistani mangoes and his company supplies the fruit to other Gulf countries from its base in Dubai.
With the advent of summer, Indian mangoes Kaser, Rajaputri, Dasheri, Badami and premier brand Alphonso have already captured the fruit shelves of major supermarkets in the UAE.
After Sindhri, Dasheri, Anwar Ratol, Chaunsa and Kala Chaunsa dominate the UAE's fruits shelves until September.
|Chaunsas may not make it to the UAE|
It might be a little disappointing for mango fans that Pakistan's premier brand Chaunsa and its other varieties - Safaid Chaunsa and Kala Chaunsa - might not reach the UAE markets this year.
The season of Sindhri will last approximately 45 days, followed by Chaunsa and Fajari until September.
But since the government of Pakistan banned wooden boxes, mangoes are being exported in corrugated cardboard boxes and shipped in refrigerated containers.
According to Dubai-based traders mangoes need extremely hot weather to be fully ripe. And they should be kept in the open air.
"Open top containers and wooden boxes are ideal for shorter distance exports. It takes 48 hours to reach Dubai from Karachi's Ghas Bandar port. By the time shipment arrives in Dubai in closed containers, the mangoes become fully ripe," they said.
"I doubt, this season, we will be able to import Kala Chaunsa and Safaid Chaunsa because it has the shortest shelf life. Two days in an airconditioned container and corrugated boxes may spoil it. We might import lesser quantity of Chaunsa also," Mohammad Afzal, managing director of Bukhamas Trading Company, said.
During the three-month mango season Dubai-based traders import 2.5 million crates through more than 130 ship trips. A crate of Pakistani mangoes weighing eight-10kg comes for Dh25-30 in the wholesale market.
UAE-based traders imported Pakistani mangoes worth $6 million with an approximate share of 32 per cent in the total Pakistani mango exports in 2014.
In 2015, export of Pakistani mangoes to the UAE and other Gulf countries dropped significantly when the Pakistan government banned the use of wood packaging including crates, boxes and cases for storing fruits and vegetables.
Pakistan's Ministry of National Food Security and Research, said the decision was taken amid considering phytosanitary measures since wood can encourage the growth of pests.
Exporters claimed that the sudden ban on wood packaging was the cause of almost 50 per cent decline in mango exports to the UAE and the GCC countries last year. They said since the orders for wooden crates had already been placed, it was impossible for them to repack mangoes in corrugated cartons without raising the prices and delivering the fruit on time. This year the traders are ready with the corrugated cardboard boxes.
Both Indian and Pakistani mangoes dominate the UAE market with almost a 70 per cent share, while products from Kenya, Sudan and Australia serve the rest of the market.