Pakistan mangoes exported to Australia amid fruit fly scare
By Matt Brann
The Australian mango industry wants quarantine services to heavily scrutinise any imported fruit from Pakistan after a recent shipment of Pakistani mangoes to the United Kingdom was found to be infested with fruit fly.
Mangoes from Pakistan have been exported to Australia for just the second year in a row, with the first trays delivered to the Perth markets in Western Australia.
President of the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA), Gavin Scurr, says the trade with Pakistan makes a lot of people in the industry nervous.
“Pakistan does have some pretty nasty pests and diseases which Australia doesn’t have and doesn’t want,” Mr Scurr said.
“The fact that the [fruit fly infested] fruit was picked up through quarantine when it arrived in the UK, meant it had left Pakistan under their conditions and hence inspection… they had missed it.
“We understand international trade, but all we’re asking as an industry is that our quarantine inspection services are doing their job thoroughly and go through this with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that these pests and diseases don’t enter our country.”
Mr Scurr says the first trays into Perth appear to be ok.
“From all accounts these mangoes seem to be of reasonable quality, a few spots and marks on them and selling for around $30 a tray,” he said.
Unlike last year, the Pakistani mangoes won’t be competing against much local fruit, with the Australian market currently made up of mangoes from Mexico and some ‘super-early’ mangoes from the Northern Territory.
AMIA says it doesn’t have details on how many mangoes will be imported from Pakistan this year.
According to newspakistan.pk, UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on June 17 inspected a shipment of mangoes from Pakistan which was found to be infested with fruit fly.
It says this is the first case of fruit fly infestation of Pakistani mangoes in the UK and if four more such shipments are found, the European Union will impose a ban on the importation of Pakistani mangoes.
It says the Pakistan Department of Plant Protection has taken precautionary measures to avoid any possible EU ban and has decided to only export mangoes which have received hot water treatment.