Muhammad Aatif Ismaeel
MULTAN, (APP)::Mango festival, mango feasts, on arrival of “Saawani” (Punjabi month Saawan popular for rainy spell), and propensity of huge mango gifting by local people, are unique features of culturally rich South Punjab, which is accoladed not only in the country but also abroad, especially in countries of Middle East.
The introduction of South Punjab sans mangoes, the king of fruits, is incomplete. Mango orchards are located over thousands of acres in South Punjab. Multan is at top in mangoes cultivation. Mango orchards are located over 31,000 hectares in the districts. However,
Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh and Khanewal are at second, third and fourth position with cultivation area 26,000, 19,000 and 14,000 hectares respectively.
Pakistani mangoes, matchless in taste and aroma ,their exports if enhanced can bring a handsome amount of foreign exchange to the National kitty.
Mango Festival, an excellent event of Multan, is being organized formally since 2016, with an aim to offer recreation to local citizens and promote the fruit at national and international level. Scores of ambassadors from different countries were invited in the Festival every year, informed Vice Chancellor Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUA) Dr Asif Ali, while talking to APP. The main idea for inviting the ambassadors was to make them aware of exotic taste of the local mangoes.
Similarly, the ambassadors also used to visit Mango orchards for recreational purpose, which was important to promote agriculture tourism in the region. In Mango Festival, over 100 varieties of the fruit were put on display. During 2019, the Festival will be organized in July 5, stated Vice Chancellor MNSUA.
Similarly, Mango Festival yields positive results as it help to offer a platform for knowledge sharing among growers. The growers interact with one another and share their experiences.
“Whereas it provides recreation, awareness, business promotion and marketing techniques to growers, besides, it is also commendable acknowledgment of the growers labour and their contribution in country’s uplift “, VC remarked. Dr Asif informed that growers learnt a lot from the Festival. A good number of progressive growers enhanced their income as they improved orchards management, mango packing, identification of high end markets, he added.
The high end markets offer lucrative prices as compared to other general markets. The growers, themselves, are taking interest in self marketing. Earlier, they used to sell the commodity to contractors and earn less amounts. Now, they started self-marketing, and also introduced their own mango brands , Asif Ali maintained. The growers got space in Centaurus Mall (Islamabad), Packages Mall (Lahore), Hyperstar (Lahore) and some other profit-generating markets in big cities. The customers were ready to pay more in these high end markets as they prefered quality and attractive
“In Festivals, a competition on mango dishes is also arranged in which students from various universities prepare different mango dishes,” the VC said adding, “many new mango dishes surface in these competition, which are greatly lauded by not only local citizens but also the ambassadors of different countries. Mango Salsa, Mango Halwa, Mango Yogurt, Mango Lassi, and scores of other dishes are observed in the Festivals.
About mango marketing in foreign countries, VC stated that Pakistan also traced new markets in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Mango feasts, are also common phenomenon in month of Saawan, a month popular for rainy spell, in the region. People, along with their families and friends, use to visit different swimming pools and tubewells to enjoy mango parties.
A mango grower namely Sajid Qureshi, (Khangarh), informed that a good number of citizens visit his Tube-well during mango season. They used to bath and enjoy mango parties at the Tube-wells for many incessant hours. Their excitement level was out of description.
President Mango Grower Association Maj (Retd) Tariq informed that many citizens used to purchase huge quantity of mangoes for gifting purpose during the peak season. He stated that Multan was city of gift-givers. He also suggested that growers could earn handsome amount by value-addition. He stated that they could export mango pulp and dried mangoes.
Employees of a private courier service informed APP that hundreds of boxes of mangoes were delivered across the country on daily basis. During Mango season, the Multan emerged as “a gifting city”. They informed that local growers and citizens send mango gift to their relatives and friends especially during months of June, July and August.
Director Mango Research Station (MRS) Shujabad Abdul Ghaffar Garewal stated that growers should take more interest in exports of the fruit. He stated that there was no match of Pakistani mangoes in taste and aroma. Pakistan was exporting nearly 6 to 7 percent of its produce. He suggested growers and exporters to explore new markets and export maximum mango in order to earn huge amounts against the quality production. This will not only help changing lifestyle of growers but also help securing maximum foreign exchange.