(AP) — These mango trees may seem lush and bursting with fruit, but they are not very productive this year.

Because of a heatwave and water scarcity, this mango farm in Sindh, Pakistan expects a 40 percent decline in production compared to last year.

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“My orchard is spread over 225 acres. Last year I sold (the equivalent of) 150 to 175 vehicles (one vehicle carries around 250 mounds of mangoes). This year, I think I will hardly be able to send 100 to 125 vehicles, in fact, not even 125, it will hardly be 100 vehicles. There was not enough water supply and then there was extreme heat. Production has suffered a lot because of these two factors,” says farmer Allah Bux.

And the heat wave happened at the worst time for the fruits.

“In March, the temperature shot up from 20 degrees Celsius to 42, so that heat wave affected mango production. That was the time of the flowering of mangoes. Excessive heat at that time hurt the growth of mangoes, which eventually led to a decline in production,” says Waheed Ahmed, Patron-in-Chief, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association.

Inevitably, the drop in production is expected to trigger a domino effect on the level of exports.

“Last year, the production of mango was 1.45 million tonnes. This year it has dropped to 0.9 million tonnes. Last year, we achieved our export target of 150,000 tonnes. This year, we have set our target at 125,000 tonnes — 25,000 tonnes less than last year. Last year, Pakistan earned 106 million dollars (through mango export),” says Ahmed.

Farmers are already struggling to meet local demand.

“Overall, mango production is very low this year. It is low in Sindh. After that, we will have mango from Rahimyar Khan. There too the production has been low, it is 40 percent of last year. The production in Sindh is about 50 percent of last year’s production. In Multan, too, the production is only 50 percent (of last year). So there has been a drop of more than 50 percent in overall production. Because of that, mangoes are expensive this year and we are unable to meet the local demand,” says mango trader, Saeed Habib Agha.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of mango in the world following India, China, Thailand and Indonesia.

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The country exported $106 million worth of mangoes in 2021 according to Ahmed, which are mostly sent to the US and European countries.