Pakistani mango exports have been refused UK access after the discovery of non-European Tephritidae, more commonly known as fruit fly, the Express Tribune reports.
UK quarantine policies list fruit fly as a harmful organism that could damage fresh fruit production in Europe.
Pakistan is currently only halfway through its mango season. The fruit is one of the country’s leading exports, with 18,000 tonnes sent to Europe annually. A ban from any European country would badly hurt the industry, particularly the major UK market.
However, the prospect of a ban grows more likely as industry representatives say the UK’s quarantine policies are increasingly strict. Should Pakistan fail to control fruit diseases such as fruit fly, it faces serious damage to its fresh produce export industry.
So far this year, approximately 2.8 per cent of the 1,652 lots of Pakistani mangoes allowed entry were found to contain fruit fly. Some exporters have halted their shipments to the UK for fear of further losses.
“This is a warning sign for Pakistan. If the Pakistani government and fruit growers do not mend their ways, they would lose not only the UK, but many more countries,” the chairman of Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association (PFVA), Waheed Ahmed, told The Express Tribune.
“The main responsibility lies with fruit growers and the government that they realise that fruit diseases are on the rise. If they are not controlled, they will increase in the future.
“Pakistan has to take both short and long-term measures to tackle the rising menace of fruit flies and other diseases. The private sector is ready to work with government departments to this end.”
However, the issue was downplayed by Naveed Anwar, managing director of leading mango exporter Imtiaz Enterprises.
“It’s not more than 5 per cent of exports, so it’s not a big issue,” he told the Fresh Fruit Portal.
“Domestically, people are highlighting it to get the attention of the government and some companies have this problem with one or two shipments but not more than that.”