Pakistani mango production drops by 50 percent due to heat wave and water shortage

Pakistani mango production is expected to decline by about 50 percent this year as the harvest has been hit hard by unusually high temperatures and water shortages, the head of a growers and exporters association said.

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Pakistan witnessed an extreme heat wave this month, with temperatures in the south reaching 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). The South Asian nation had jumped from winter to summer without experiencing a spring, according to the country’s Climate Change Ministry.

More than a billion people are at risk from the effects of heat in the region, scientists warn, linking the early onset of an intense summer to climate change.

β€œThe heat wave has greatly affected it (the crop) as the temperature was 28.29 degrees Celsius in March – but suddenly it reached 42,” said Waheed Ahmed, head of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association.

He said that the heat at the time of the mango trees’ blooming greatly affected production, adding that Pakistan has experienced a 50 percent drop in mango production this year.

Although the heat is allowing the juicy yellow fruit to ripen, the premature temperature rises, coupled with water shortages, have severely affected the crop.

“When the unripe fruit is ready, it needs water, which gives the mango a good size,” says grower and contractor Gul Hassan in Tando Allah Yar, in the southern province of Sindh. “There is no water in Sindh.”

Pakistan is the world’s fifth largest producer of mangoes after India, China, Thailand and Indonesia, Ahmed said.

Pakistan’s average mango production is close to 1.8 million metric tons, but that is likely to be about half this year, he said, adding that the association has lowered its export target by 25,000 metric tons, compared to last year to 125,000 metric tons.

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