A labourer sorts mangoes before packing them into boxes at a farm in Multan. AFP
Dwindling harvests, drooping demand and export supply chains hit by the coronavirus are biting into Pakistan's mango industry, with producers of the prized fruit battling to weather a disastrous season.
Across Pakistan's "mango belt" in Punjab and Sindh provinces, farmers say a long winter and changing rain patterns have slashed production by up to half this year -- just as virus shutdowns sparked border restrictions and spiralling export costs.
"There are multiple problems that mango farmers are facing," said Rana Muhammad Azim, whose family has been producing the fruit in Punjab for generations.
"The situation is extremely worrisome for us. The mangoes are ready, but no exporter is willing to take the risk and place orders," he said, adding that he was already suffering from a 40 percent decline in the harvest.
Pakistan produced more than 1.5 million tonnes of mangoes in 2019 -- and exported a record 115,000 tonnes worth $80 million -- making it the sixth-largest exporter of the fruit in the world.
But Waheed Ahmed, head of a produce association in Pakistan, said exports have dropped around 40 per cent compared to the same period last year, with just a few months left of the season.
Known in South Asia as the "king of fruits", the mango originated in the Indian subcontinent with two dozen varieties grown in Pakistan.
The country's most treasured variety is the greenish-yellow Chaunsa, known for its rich, unique flavour and juicy pulp.
The fruit also helps sweeten diplomatic relations, with Pakistan sending crates of its best produce to India's prime minister every year, regardless of the political climate between the hostile neighbours.Agence France-Presse
The COVID-19 death toll in Pakistan has increased to 343 with the emergence of 26 fatalities in 24 hours, the highest single day jump, health authorities said.
Measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have meant there are no studio audiences, and contestants appear by video-link on some shows, while on others they phone in their answers, or send a text message.
Bowlers traditionally get the ball to move or swing in the air by applying shine to one side using sweat or saliva. The International Cricket Council, however, has temporarily banned the practise over virus transmission fears as teams prepare to return to the pitch in the coming weeks.
The number of people in work in Britain has suffered the biggest drop since 2009 and signs are growing that the coronavirus will take a heavier toll on the labour market as the government winds down its huge job-protection scheme.
Emaar Malls reported revenue of Dhs1.657 billion ($ 451 million) in the first half of 2020. With a first-half net profit of Dhs345 million ($ 94 million) the result demonstrates the resilience of the business.
Dubai Land Department, in cooperation with Property Finder, launched the fourth edition of Mo’asher, Dubai’s official sales price index. The base year for Mo’asher is 2012 and the base month for the monthly index is January 2012,