Improving mango value chains

Mango value chains that have market-focused production and postharvest systems can reduce waste, deliver high quality fruit and create significant profits for value chain partners from mango growers through to retailers.

Australian mango growers produce mangoes which, once picked and packed, make their way to eager consumers in Australia and internationally by road, air or sea transport. Some postharvest issues that only become visible as mangoes ripen are exacerbated by the conditions or handling practices that fruit is exposed to during transport to their final destination. Work developing best practice systems for mango value chains is underway in Australia and Pakistan. Improved value chain systems lead to greater reliability and consistency of mangoes, lower costs of delivery and increased market and consumer confidence.

Pakistan project leader Professor Ray Collins from The University of Queensland said that improving the mango value chain and strengthening its links results in consumers receiving better quality mangoes and producers receiving improved profits.

“Our project in Pakistan has both a domestic and export market focus. Growing export markets improves options for producers who are focused on high quality and relieves pressures on the domestic market in years of high production. Adopting a value chain approach can improve the competitiveness of all the members of existing chains and therefore improve the competitiveness of the whole industry. As everyone in a chain has a role to play in achieving and delivering the right quality for a targeted market, everyone can benefit. On the other hand, if any one link in the chain underperforms, the whole chain’s performance is affected and everyone can lose,” he said.

Controlled atmosphere sea freight protocols for Pakistan’s Sindh variety have been developed and successful commercial trials have been carried out. The sea freight system involves close control of postharvest management procedures such as maturity assessment, harvesting, disease control, temperature management, packing and grading, and containerisation. While adopting these systems represents a huge challenge for even the most progressive Pakistani growers, the results have been worth the effort. High quality mangoes have been received after 26 days sea freight to the UK and successfully retailed to satisfied consumers.   

In domestic markets, protocols to safely ripen mangoes using ethylene and to improve skin colour, have been developed.

“To date, the protocols developed by our nine year project have reduced waste along the value chain, improved shelf life and resulted in positive market and consumer feedback from value chain participants in Pakistan. This demonstrates how improving the quality, safety and traceability of mangoes can have a positive influence on relationships within the value chain at the same time as growing the market demand,” Professor Collins said.

As the project comes to an end in late 2015 the project’s approaches and results will be documented and made available to the Australian mango industry in the interests of further developing value chain approaches.

The Pakistan project Mango Value Chain Improvement is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The Australian research team includes scientists from The University of Queensland, University of Southern Queensland, the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. ACIAR funds international and domestic research to improve the productivity and profitability of agricultural systems in partner countries as well as providing benefits to Australian industries.