Farmer Field Schools being conducted by the EU funded TRTA II programme have contributed substantially in educating the farmers to grow quality fruit for export. This was said by Mr. Zahid Hussain Gardezi, President of Mango Growers Cooperative Society. He appreciated the TRTA II programme efforts for the uplift of mango sector at the distribution ceremony of horticulture kits to the mango farmers. He said that the interventions of the programme designed after detailed discussions with all the stakeholders in mango sector.
The European Union (EU) funded Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA II) Programme organized a ceremony in which Mr. Riccardo Rossi, and Ms. Roshan Ara, Development Advisors at the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan distributed the horticulture kits to the mango farmers of Southern Punjab .
The TRTA II Programme, implemented by UNIDO in association with ITC and WIPO, is working closely with kinnow and mango farmers, processors and exporters to increase yield, improve fruit quality and the processing techniques by developing the Codes of Practices (COPs) through the Farmer Field Schools and Trainings at the export pack houses. The developed COPs for the Good Agriculture Practices are being applied in the selected farm clusters under the guidance and supervision of Mango Research Station, Government of the Punjab and University of Agriculture, Faisalabad at the farm and post harvest level respectively.
As part of the training, a basic horticulture equipment kit has been provided to the selected clusters and Pack Houses. The award distribution ceremony was held at a Mango Farm of Mouza Koat Lakhan of District Vehari.
The TRTA II Programme has also helped the mango farmers in developing a consortium of medium-sized farmers which would act as a platform to allow these farmers direct access to international markets. As a pilot phase this consortium has initiated exports for mangoes to ASDA/ Walmart UK on a weekly basis.
The chairman of this consortium, Mr. Farid Khan Khakwani stated that such an intervention is the first of its kind in Pakistan where farmers are directly exporting their mangoes to high end markets. He further stated that horticulture kits provided by the TRTA II Programme will greatly assist the farmer groups to more effectively harvest their produce and maintain their farms.