About the Author: Alberto Rodriguez serves as Spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Members of Pakistan's mango industry gathered at a conference in Islamabad today to celebrate the successful 2010 mango season. It was the best year in the history of Pakistan's mango exports. With U.S. support, Pakistani mango growers began exporting to European markets, upgraded infrastructure, and prepared for shipments to the United States.
Demand for mangoes is growing around the world. With annual production exceeding 1.5 million tons, Pakistan's mango sector is poised for tremendous growth. This puts mango exports on track to directly benefit two million Pakistanis, generate employment, and boost the economy, especially in Southern Punjab and Northern Sindh.
"The American people have been working hand in hand with Pakistani mango farmers, government officials, and entrepreneurs to get Pakistan's mangoes into the international markets," said Andrew Sisson, Pakistan Mission Director for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
USAID helped local producers ship mangoes by sea to major fruit and vegetable importers in Europe for the first time. USAID also supported introduction of internationally recognized quality certification, helped upgrade infrastructure, and assisted in setting up links with international buyers. Pakistan's first-ever mango exports to the United States are expected in 2011.
"Pakistan's mango farmers have demonstrated tremendous dedication and investment this past year, with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and U.S. Government support," said Federal Minister of Agriculture, Nazar Muhammad Gondal. "Their successes will encourage other Pakistani farmers to attain international standards and certifications and compete in the international mango market."