The Sindh Agriculture University’s vice chancellor Dr Fateh Marri Tandojam has proposed the provincial government to establish farmers markets in major cities of Sindh engaging producers to sell their own products.
“The farmers should be facilitated to provide seed money as a grant because they do not have finance for promoting business”, the VC expressed these views during a seminar on ‘Mango Quality production, opportunities and challenges’, organized by the SAU Tandojam in collaboration with Sindh Abadgar Board, Sindh Agriculture Research Institute Tandojam and Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF) on Wednesday.
The event attracted mango producers, traders, exporters, agriculture department officials and entrepreneurs.
The Vice Chancellor said mango products start from its nursery, which must have healthy plants. There is need of introducing technology for processing and marketing to capture market. He said university is going to establish clean mango nursery. We are encouraging graduates to bring business plans and engage them for mango processing, packing and grading and adapt online marketing mechanism.
He suggested that displaying mango varieties in Karachi and other cities’ larger shopping malls and major markets. It may take more time, as we claim more but in real sense we are not the competitor with other countries in terms of export quality because of lacking management, packing and grading skills.
Abdul Rahim Soomor, Secretary Sindh Agriculture said there is need of action over the recommendations produced by this seminar. He said there is a gap in research, which shows poor results in yield compared to other nations of the world in terms of quality products.
Responding to queries, he said agro processing zones were established in 2000 in nine cities of Sindh. Now we are struggling to revive these processing zones through public private partnership. We will involve Sindh investment board in the agribusiness.
He also discussed seed issue in the province and said government’s research institutes and Sindh Agriculture University graduates may be engaged to meet the need of providing certified seeds.
Mahboobul Haque CEO Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF) said there are agribusiness opportunities for farmers. They are planning to strengthen supply chain with setting up cold storage, transportation and distribution mechanism.
He said they have ten years background and now seeing how public private partnership may play effective role. He said due to Covid-19 restrictions we could not continue the plan of investment. He offered farmers to establish small scale value addition plants at their farms so they may directly deal with products, like fruits and other crops.
Compared to conventional cold storages now they have adapted modern models which may benefit the farmers to get benefits, he said.
He said there is no issue of financing for small scale entrepreneurship. He said though in some cases even commercial banks seem reluctant for lending to farmers but they provide grants to promote agribusiness. He said there are other windows, platform for growers to avail opportunities.
Mahmood Nawaz Shah, vice president Sindh Abadgar Board suggested to have high density crops and fruits. He claims to have established high density mango orchards on four acre land and waiting to receive products. Because traditionally we plant 35-38 trees on one acre land. But following high-density we may have 1000 trees on the same piece of land and can have more yield.
Nabi Bux Sathio, another farmer, leading Sindh Chamber of Agriculture said there is no survival except value addition practices in agriculture crops like onion, chilli, tomato and various fruits, including mango.
“We can manage postharvest losses through adapting modern practices,” he said, adding that we usually invest in crops production and wait for three- four months to get return. Thus we have to initiate value addition to earn without waiting for three or four months.
Aga Zafarullah Durani, grower and exporter said for the postharvest management farmers themselves may encourage educated persons as farm managers so they may help them and avoid this kind of losses.
“We should have to change traditional practice and adapt modern practices to avoid losses and earn income”, he said.
Dr Zulfiqar Yousfani talking on mango pulp productions said this is time when mango product harvesting has started. “We have to take initiative to avoid post harvesting loss,” he said.
When you will visit to any mango farm after June 20 you may see yellow mangoes fell around trees. We have to stop this loss.
He said late variety mango cannot give benefit o Sindh growers, because at that time Punjab fruits flooded in the local markets. Thus, we have to conduct research on early variety of fruits.
Ghulam Sarwar Panhwar, director M.H. Panhwar Farm shared new modern practices for markets. He claims to have three farms in which producing around 32 varieties of mango, early varieties, mid time and late varieties for markets.
Apart from mango, he said high quality litchi, banana, jack fruit and others, which have nutritional value.
We have mango varieties starting from May and continue to August available in the farms. We have nursery of mangoes where we grow fruits where we have healthy plants.
Suleman G Abro, founding president Safwco in his remarks said there are more opportunities for mango farmers of Sindh to achieve. He said CPEC itself is main opportunity to shift our minds to agribusiness and agri products. He said the government has announced grant of Rs 6 billion for SMEs associated with agribusiness, which may benefit to rural people.
Nadeem Shah Jamot, a progressive farmer said we have to assign agriculture graduates to manage farms to avoid losses and produce more yield. This is key to save their products.
He appreciated role of women in agriculture, pre and postharvest management. These women may be encouraged.
Mohsin Soomro, value chain specialist at International Trade Center- Growth for Rural Advancement Sustainable Programme (Grasp) said postharvest is not only for mango but tomato and other products have also the similar issues. Thus farmers should have to adapt processing, storage, packing and marketing mechanism.
He said they have initiated funding for small and medium enterprise development and encouraging rural entrepreneurs
Muhammad Younus Khatri, director HB international Hyderabad Toledo (USA) cities CEO highlighted and said that there is huge opportunities between two cities to exchange promoting culture, business, research, health and education. He said farmers can get opportunities to export Sindhri to export Sindhri mango to Toledo city. He added that an MOU have ben signed between Hyderabad and Toledo cities for the purpose.
Mukhtiar Shaikh Al Rahim Processing facilities for mango, tomato and other fruits said there are 70 percent Sindhri variety and 30 percent other varieties.
He said they have future plans in Khairpur district and planning to add date products. He advised farmers to get directly involved in the processing and packing. He also advised university to assign tasks to PhD students to conduct studies on these products and value additions.
Dr Khalil Ibupoto, VC Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur, sought collaboration with SAU to promote agriculture. He claims to have launched Agriculture department at the university to benefit farmers in the district.
Noor Muhammad Baloch, Director General Sindh Agriculture Research Institute Tandojam said that a demand of mango is growing internationally. Therefore, farmers should avail these opportunities and earn income.
Prof Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, Director University Advancement and Focal Person at SAU said that there is a great potential for value addition mango through washing, drying, grading and packing will greatly enhance the product quality of mango.
Mango is a delicious king of fruit, grown in more than 100 countries of the world. Sindhri mango variety is unique in taste and aroma for export and to earn foreign income.