Pakistan’s nascent US mango export programme appears in doubt with exporters claiming import requirements make the trade unprofitable.
Last season Pakistan sent five tonnes of the fruit to the US and hopes were high that figure would increase this year.
A report by Agence France-Presse (AFP) said the trade was highly politicised and the US hoped assisting Pakistani mango producers and exporters would ease anti-American sentiment in the predominantly Muslim nation.
According to the news source the US announced in January of this year it had assisted mango growers increase regional exports by more than 40 per cent and revenue by some US$4m over the past year.
While Pakistani officials recognised the assistance they said US import regulations made the trade untenable. "Pakistan cannot export mangoes to the United States this season because of certain restrictions, which the growers feel makes the business unprofitable," Kashif Niazi, an official at the commerce ministry, told AFP.
An official at the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, which regulates exports, said the requirement all US imports are irradiated at a facility in Chicago was not cost effective.
Pakistan has its own irradiation facility but it has not been approved by the US, the news source reported.
Asif Iqbal, a mango grower in Sargodha district of Punjab province, told AFP that unless a solution was found to the irradiation issue exports to the US would never be possible.