Climate Change May Lower Pakistan’s Mango Production By 20 Percent This Year
By Sumayya Khalid
The output of Pakistan’s national fruit, mango is said to be pushed down by 20pc this year. Across provinces Punjab and Sindh, mango production may be reduced to about 35% and 10% respectively, as unripe mangoes had fallen due to recent dust storms, gusty winds, and rains. Pakistan is assessed to be one of the vulnerable countries to climate change. This vulnerability is generally due to its geographic location and varied climatic conditions. Pakistan had the 7th position among the list of countries most affected by global warming.
Owing to global warming, the weather calendar is also changing, but the country is not taking action accordingly. For example, there are techniques to save the crop from a hailstorm, but our farmers are unaware of these. Unfortunately, farmers are using the same seventy-year-old techniques to deal with the changing weather. Furthermore, Pakistan is a water stressed country. Farmers rely on the flood irrigation system, which is unsuccessful.
This condition may lead to the food security challenge, which then can turn into a national security issue. The old technique is not only ineffective in dealing with climate change, but it also increases the cost of doing business. This turns our exporters uncompetitive in the international market.
Description and Habitat of Mango
Mango (Mangifera indica), is an evergreen tree in the family Anacardiaceae which has been grown for its edible fruit. Mango trees can grow to a height of 148 ft (45 meters) and can live for in excess of hundred years.
Sub-continent is the origin and habitat of mango fruit, where it has been growing for over four thousand years and later spread to tropical and sub-tropical areas. Now it is being grown in more than hundred countries of the world. The global annual production of mango is estimated to be over 25 million tonnes. It is the national fruit of Pakistan, Philippines, and India. It is also the national tree of Bangladesh.
Production of Mango in Pakistan
Pakistan is an agricultural country and the production of fruit is an important part of this sector. Mangoes have been produced in Pakistan for over 2000 years. In Pakistan, the total area under fruit cultivation is 853.4 thousand hectares with the production of 7178.8 thousand tonnes. Whereas area under mango cultivation is 167.5 thousand hectares with the production of 1,732 thousand tonnes being the 2nd major fruit crop of the country after citrus.
Punjab and Sindh provinces are the main producers of mango fruit sharing 79% and 20% production, respectively. In the Punjab province, the main mango growing districts are Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur, Multan, and Rahim Yar Khan. In Sindh province, it is mostly grown in Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas, and Thatta. In KPK province, it is grown in Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, and Mardan.
Pakistan producing eight percent of the world’s mangoes is now ranked the 4th largest producer of mango in the world behind India (1st), China (2nd), and Thailand (3rd). Pakistan mainly exports it to the UK, Middle East, Italy, Japan and Germany making mango an important foreign currency earning fruit crop.
The season of mangoes in Pakistan generally starts in May and lasts till the month of September. A new trend of growing late varieties of mangoes in Punjab has extended the market period and added to the exportable surplus.
Varieties of Mango in Pakistan
In Pakistan, about 250 varieties of mango are found but about 25-30 varieties are being grown on a commercial scale. Important commercial cultivars of Pakistan are Dusehri, Anwar Ratul, Langra, Chaunsa, Sindhri, Maldha, Fajri, Almaas, Anmol, Banganpalli, Collector, Desi Ada Pamato, Desi Badam, Desi Gola, Desi Badshah, Dilkash, Gulab Janhu, Gulab Khas, Lahoti, Lal Badshah, Muhammad Wole, Nawab Puri, Neelum, Rani Phool, Saleh Bhai, Shan-e-Khuda, Taimuria, Toofan, , Zafran, Toota Pari, and Alphanso etc.
The most popular mango variety is “Sammar Bahisht” (The Heavenly Fruit) which is commonly called as Chaunsa. Pakistani mangoes are recognized as one of the best of its kind in the international market.
Nutritional and health benefits of mango
This delicious fruit is the king of fruits which is liked by all due to its flavor, taste and amazing nutritional properties. It is also the source of numerous minerals and vitamins.
Mangoes not only improve eye health but also help in preventing cancer and lowering cholesterol. The antioxidants in mangoes are linked to protecting against prostate, colon, breast cancers and leukemia. Mangoes also improve digestion, help alkalize our bodies and fight chances of heat stroke. Mango pulp is also used for the treatment of hair and skin.
Treatment for dandruff
Vitamin A present in mango helps fight dandruff and adds shine to the hair. Vitamin E present in the fruit encourages hair growth by improving scalp circulation. Mango seed may help to get rid of dandruff. Mix it with mustard oil and leave it out in the sun for a few days. Application of this mixture may control hair loss, dandruff and early graying.
Mangoes are the best choice for all types of hair i.e. dry, damaged, brittle, frizzy, tangled and puffy hair. By sealing cuticles with Vitamins A and C, it nourishes the hair. For the preparation of a regular conditioner, mix mango pulp with a spoon of yogurt and two egg yellows. Apply this mixture on hair for at least thirty minutes. It will leave the hair manageable and soft. If more nourishment required, prepare a deep conditioner. Mix a quarter cup each of ripe peeled chopped mangoes, aloe vera gel, with Greek yogurt. Leave the mixture on for thirty to sixty minutes. For better results, cover your hair with a shower cap or plastic wrap.
- Homemade face-wash
Mango contains Vitamin A and Beta that refreshes and adds shine to the skin, reducing acne, blemishes and dark spots. For preparation, mix one teaspoon of both mango pulp and powdered almond. Add a tablespoon of milk to this mix and grind it into a fine paste. Apply and wash after twenty minutes. The face-wash is suitable for all skin types.
Treatment for blackheads
A scrub prepared by using mango pulp can help in removing blackheads. For scrub preparation, mix a teaspoon of mango pulp, half a teaspoon of milk or milk powder and honey. Rub the mixture in a circular motion all over the face. It will help in the removal of dead skin and blackheads, resulting in a natural glow on the face.
To boost weight loss
Nutrients and vitamins in the fruit help the body feel fuller. Rich in fibers, the mango fruit improves the digestive function of the body by burning extra calories, helping in weight loss. Fibers help in good bowel movement which helps to boost metabolic rate. The improved metabolic rate helps cut down excess stomach fat.
To prevent a heat-stroke
To prevent heat-stroke during hot summers, we need to maintain the fluid level in our body. This rich source of potassium maintains the sodium compound, which results in fluid-level regulation. Mango also controls homocysteine levels in the blood, which are harmful to blood vessels and are known to cause a stroke. Chop a mango in a juicer, add a little water and a tablespoon of honey to it. The juice will immediately cool you down and prevent you from getting a heat-stroke. Another drink to fight sunstroke is “Aam panna”. It is made of raw mango, sugar and spices. The drink is easy to make and helps to cure ailments such as cholera, anemia, tuberculosis, and dysentery.
Eating Habits of Mango
Eating habits of mango differ from country to country. In Pakistan and India people prefer to eat it fresh through cutting or squeezing. Raw mangoes are also used to make mango pickles, which is an excellent accompaniment with any Asian food item. This fruit is also used in many forms such as juices, murabba, Jams, chutneys, sauces and dried powder (Amchur). In Central America, mango is either eaten green with salt, pepper, and hot sauce or combined with toasted and brown pumpkin seeds called papilla. In Mexico, popular use is on a stick dipped in hot chili powder and salt. In Thailand and other South Asian countries, sweet glutinous rice is flavored with coconut and served with sliced mango as a dessert.
Measures to improve mango production
- There is a dire need for intense research and development in the agriculture sector to increase the productivity of fruit and reduce the cost of doing business
- It is the need of time to spread awareness among growers to protect their crops from hailstorms and rains etc.
- In order to reduce losses, Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) is one of the important steps towards identifying and assessing climate change adaptation challenges for Pakistan. It will align its adaptation needs and opportunities with the goals and objectives of its sustainable development. The use of new modern technology will help the growers to save the mango crops.
- There is also a need to introduce the drip irrigation system, which will help save 50 percent of water.