Pak mangoes to sweeten US ties

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CHICAGO (APP) - The Pakistani mangoes, exported to the U. S. for the first time, have generated a lot of interest among Pakistani-Americans, South Asians and native Americans, who got a first flavour of the King of Fruits at a festive introductory party on Sunday.

But sweet flavour and irresistable fragrance are not the only the qualities that attracted people s interest - the mangoes hold both symbolic value in the context of Pakistan-U. S. relations and promise great substantive commercial gains, particularly for Pakistani exporters

Despite a recent souring of U. S. -Pakistan relations, a new trade (of mangoes) development promises to sweeten things up, proclaimed a news story in The Chicago Tribune as popular Chaunsa mangoes filled the party hall at the Palmer House Hilton with their unique fragrance.

Pakistani Ambassador to the U. S. Hussain Haqqani presided over the mango party as visitors thronged table after table to have taste of the first fruits of the season. Although the mangoes won t be in stores for a few weeks and there s no definite price yet, the ambassador said that he has already sent boxes to Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Mark Kirk, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

He further said a box should be arriving at the White House on Monday. The fruit was arrayed in the form of chilled mango chunks, mango ice cream, mango tarts, mango chutney, mango tortes, mango custard, mango pudding, mango pies and non-alcoholic mango margaritas and sangria.

We have been waiting for this for the past 20 years for Pakistani mangoes to come here, said Samina Khattak of Chicago.

We have been eating the Mexican and Indian mangoes but they are not the same. Arshad Sony Javed, who runs a chain of famous Cafe Descartes Coffee - that treats Chicagoans with mango Lassi drinks - said he was also thrilled at the arrival of Pakistani mangoes. However, he felt the mangoes - which end up with added value because of air shipments - should not become costly and must be marketed at affordable price to for the common citizens.

Member of Parliament Farahnaz Ispahani, wife of Ambassador Haqqani, was also confident that the Pakistani mangoes would beat other available varieties easily. I have tasted (Indian) Alphonsos and there is no competition, said Ispahani. The soil in Pakistan produces the sweetest mangoes in the world and once Americans taste Pakistani mangoes in all their depth and flavors they ll never turn back. They ll forget Alphonsos and any other mangoes, she said.

According to Ambassador Haqqani a Pakistani exporter of $ 1 million fruit would be getting around Rs 8. 5 crore as he noted the immense commercial value of mangoes. He also underscored the symbolic importance of Pakistani mangoes to broader Pakistan-U. S. relations.

The Tribune noted in its report that the various dishes in which the Pakistani mangoes were served revealed a sweet, fragrant and nearly fiber free fruit that could appeal to many American palates.

Haqqani said that the Chaunsa is one of more than 200 Pakistani mango varieties and he expects more growers with different varieties to meet U. S. import requirements in the near future. As the biggest importer of mangoes in the world (with $250 million in mango imports) America was a ripe market for the Pakistani mango, he said.

But the diplomat hopes the arrival of the fruit will mean more than improved economic ties for the two countries with such strained dealings. This is something we are very happy about, he said. At a time when U. S. Pakistan relations are being reported as tense, this is finally some sweet news.

Courtesy: Nation

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