BEIJING – An exquisite ‘Mango Festival’ was held in China here on Thursday to showcase different varieties of ‘the king of fruits’ and enhance its export more widely all over China from the next year.

The Embassy of Pakistan and Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company, Ministry of Commerce jointly organised the event which attracted a large number of people including high ranking Chinese officials, local business community and senior diplomats of the two countries.

Welcoming the distinguished guests, Pakistan Ambassador to China, Masood Khalid said this unique event was organised to introduce Pakistani mangoes amongst Chinese friends in connection with Pakistan Independence Day celebrations. He shared with the audience that Pakistani mangoes were first introduced by Chairman Mao Zedong in China in 1968 when he gifted Pakistani mangoes to the China Community Party (CPC) and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cadres as his appreciation of their contribution and work.

He said Pakistani mangoes was one of the best in the world, adding that Pakistani mangoes had more than 400 varieties and the most popular commercial varieties were different in colors and sizes and each with a distinct flavour and taste.

Ambassador Khalid said that in Pakistan, mangoes were called as ‘king of fruits’ and it was grown in Punjab and Sindh provinces. Pakistani mangoes available in markets in abundant from May to September, were mainly used as fresh but it was also used in preparing different derivative such as jams, squash, milkshake and ice cream.

He said this fruit was also dried and canned while raw mango was used for preparing pickles, adding that ‘Chaunsa’ and ‘Sindhri’ were popular varieties and stood up amongst mangoes with golden yellow colour. The ripe fruit was soft almost and had an aromatic pleasant sweet flavour.

About its export, he informed that mangoes due to their high demand were heavily exported to Middle East, Europe and also the USA from Pakistan. He said it was also being exported to China but in limited quantity and expressed the confidence that from next year, with cooperation of Chinese business community, it would be exported more widely all over China.

Throwing light on Pak-China partnership, he said, this all weather strategic cooperative partnership also shared the sweetness of mangoes and it was growing, adding that this relation has lasted over last 70 years and it is shining symbol of inter-state partnership. He said Pakistan and China were working together on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s Initiative of One Belt One Road.

Mr Khalid appreciated the initiative of Pakistani exporters Khalid Ejaz Qureshi of Roshan Enterprises and Mazhar Abro of Sindh Mango Growers and Exporters Association who had come to introduce Pakistani mangoes in China.

The ambassador commended efforts of Riaz Ahmed, CEO, Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company for extending support for this event. He particularly lauded the efforts of Pakistan Embassy’s Commercial Counsellor Dr Erfa Iqbal and First Secretary Raheel Tariq who worked tirelessly to make this event enjoyable.