Mango growers foresee short of labor ahead of Mango season

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By Business Reporter

KARACHI: The mango growers in Sindh are worried and foresee short of labor during the upcoming mango plucking season, which starts in May as most of the labor comes from Punjab during the season but this year the lockdown in the country will prevent them from travelling.

All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association (PFVA) has written to both Chief Minters of Punjab and Sindh to arrange special transportation for the laborers.

The mango crop in the province of Sindh gets ready for plucking the fruit by first week of May while in Punjab it starts after a gap of a month in June. The laborer for the Sindh province comes mostly from Punjab’s Bahawalpur, Multan and Muzzaffargarh regions, and they get actively engaged in the process of plucking, grading, packing and loading the processed mango boxes into trucks.

“The government has already permitted the laborers working in farms and orchards in villages by following the SOPs issued in this context. Since railway and public transport are not operating due to country-wide lockdown, hence sending laborers from Punjab to Sindh during the mango season over there poses serious limitation. If the laborers from Punjab do not reach to Sindh during the time when mango crop is ready, besides affecting growers it would badly hit the export of mango as well and the economy of our country would be further weakened against the challenge of coronavirus,” PFVA Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed said.

“It’s imminent that during this stressful condition we must keep a balance between the lockdown and economic activities so that we can steer the country out of this natural catastrophe,” he added.

“We, therefore humbly request that permission may kindly be granted to operate special transports to carry laborers from Punjab to Sindh so that huge financial losses likely to be sustained by the growers, exporters and the country can be averted,” he said.

“It may be worth mentioning here that the mango industry is around Rs.100 billion which includes export of mango and value-added products of mango and thus this entire industry would be in great danger if we do not act timely as requested,” he stressed.

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