ISLAMABAD: The three-day Mango Festival, organized in the Centaurus Mall, would literally live in the memories of Islamabadians for so long, as this has brought natural fragrances of hundreds of mango varieties in the capital city from different regions of the country. The mango festival was participated by people from all walks of life including government ministers, industrialists and ambassadors from different countries, the presence of whom made it a successful and memorable event. The fair encouraged farmers and exporters and was expected to pave the way for boosting export-quality mango production at a time when the government was seriously introducing policies to enhance exports from the country through various interventions and provision of incentives. Last year 2020 mango production was reported at 1.75 million tonnes with two-third and one-third share of Punjab and Sindh respectively. Mango is entitled “The King of Fruit,” one of the most healthy, not to mention delicious as Pakistani Mangoes are high in fiber, low in calories and contain a small amount of carbohydrates,iron and a little protein and are rich in vitamins, A, B and C. More than 250 varieties of mango cultivated in Pakistan were presented by the mango growers in the festival, including Sindhri and Chaunsa were the most famous varieties in the country and also for export are Langra,Chaunsa, Anwer Ratol, Sindhri,Dussehri. While other mango varieties containing the Neelun ,Begum , Khas-ul- Khas , sensation, Tota Pari, Ghilab, Khatie, Dhasi ,Makhan, Abazai, Ahmed abdali, Golam, Faiz Karim, Abosi, Patta Stto were also put on display by growers from all four province and Azad Kashmir. Currently Pakistan is the 4th largest mango producer in the world and production reaches 2.3 million tonnes. Mango is the second largest produced fruit of Pakistan after citrus;Punjab and Sindh are the major mango growing provinces of the country. Talking to APP at the festival , Chief Guest Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood said that Pakistani mangoes were in great demand abroad and, “We can earn millions of dollars in foreign exchange especially through the value addition of mangoes”. He said that Pakistan was a major producer of mangoes and predicted that up to 160,000 Metric Tons (MT) of mangoes would be exported in the year of 2021. The Adviser said that Pakistan’s export potential of ‘Mango Pulp’stands at $500 million in the world market and through this Pakistan could enhance the value addition to enhance the country’s exports in foreign markets. “Razak Dawood said the government is committed to encourage the mango growers and exporters to go for conversion of mango fruit into natural pulp (without any additives and preservatives) through Aseptic packing that increases the shelf life up to 24 months and could help increase exports by $500 million in the world after coronavirus.” “Coronavirus pandemic is also offering opportunities to different countries and business sectors.Fruit sector of Pakistan has been offering one such potential opportunity,” he said. Razak Dawood said that with increasing health consciousness, especially in the post corona world, people are likely to have preference for organic food and this provides Pakistan a potential opportunity to earn foreign exchange of multi-billion dollars through the export of mango pulp. He appreciated the efforts of President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and CEO of the ‘Centaurus Mall’, Islamabad, Sardar Yasir Ilyas for organized such a nice festival and provide platform to the mango growers and farmers and interact them with experts and relevant government officials and miniseries. On the occasion, President ICCI Sardar Yasir Ilyas said that Pakistan has huge potential in horticulture to increase export of different fruits including Mango. “Pakistan can be included in the list of top three mango exporting countries of the world within a period of 4 -5 years” he said. “It is imperative to focus attention on high-value markets such as Japan, US, Australia, South Korea, and China,” he said. He said that value addition, including ‘Mango Pulp” would not only preserve the fruit content for up to 24 months but also create exportable surplus as the mango pulp is in high demand in the international market. “A Mango grower from District Muzaffargarh of Punjab, Muhammad Ahmed, who owned a stall in the festival, said that ‘Mango Festival’ in Islamabad is a good initiative of the organizers, which will encourage mango farmers”,he added. He said that on such occasions the mango growers also got an opportunity to discuss their issues with the government and relevant authorities which was also helpful in solving our problems. Meanwhile, a woman Mango farmer, Sapna Kavita Oberoi from Sargodha district, who participated in the Mango Festival, expressed her views and said that her mango orchard covered an area of about 40 acres. And she was also focusing on the value addition of mangoes, which she used to make pickles and a variety of sauces that sell all over the country.