Indian mango exporters will now have to give their products ‘hot water treatment’ before exporting them to the European market. The National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) has now made it mandatory for mangoes to undergo this treatment before they are given phytosanitary certificates.
NPPO is a phytosanitary certification authority authorised by the Centre. According to senior officials at the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), the treatment will be available at two existing facilities at Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in the Konkan region of Maharashtra.
Apeda has also sanctioned a new R2.8 crore facility in Mumbai to be established by the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) which is expected to be fully functional before the start of this season, Sudhanshu, head of the western region of Apeda, said. NPPO officials will inspect consignments at the Apeda-approved packhouses before issuing the certificates, he said. Apeda has some 8 registered packhouses in Maharashtra.
On Tuesday, the EU lifted the ban on Indian Alphanso bringing cheer to mango growers in India. Mangoes, eggplant, two types of gourd and the taro plant from India were banned by the European Union following concerns raised about high levels of contamination, mainly from non-European fruit flies. The emergency measure came into effect on May 1, 2014 and the ban was supposed to stay till December 2015. However, it was lifted on Tuesday.
Last year, around 310 tonne of mangoes were cleared by the Regional Plant Quarantine Station (RPQS) in Mumbai. According to data provided by the Apeda, around 41,280 tonne of mangoes were exported to the Middle East, South-East Asia and the US. For markets in Japan and New Zealand, mangoes from India have to undergo vaporization treatment, the facility for which is available at Vashi in Mumbai. For export to the US, Indian mangoes have to be irradiated. Both these conditions are not necessary for export to the EU, Sudhanshu said.
In value terms, the export of Indian mangoes and vegetables to the EU is only around 10% and runs into only a few hundred crores, but some industry observers felt that the ban may harm the image of Indian mangoes in other countries such as the US where there was a record export from India, about 500 tonne last year.
India produces 1,63,37,400 tonne mango every year and is the largest producer in the world. A recent study said that EU imports over 224 million kg of mangoes with a value of approximately 265 million euros. The Gulf accounts for 20% of the Indian export market. This year onwards, Apeda has also begun online registration of mango orchards wanting to export to overseas markets on the lines of ‘Grapenet’, a facility that registers grape vineyards for being eligible for exports. Called ‘Mangonet’ the new facility will register mango orchard owners and till date around 2,000 orchards in Ratnagiri, Raigad, Sindhudurg and Pune have registered.
Significantly, last year, maximum quantity of mangoes went to France, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK. Other markets include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Singapore, the UAE, Hong Kong, and Bahrain. Ajit Gogate, chairman, Devgad Taluka Amba Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha, a society of 700 farmers growing Alphonso in Sindhudurg region, said the decision to lift the ban was welcome but a majority of the farmers sent their produce to Mumbai from where exporters lifted their produce. Like last year, this year as well, mango production has been affected by unseasonal rains and this could result in a late start for the mango season in 2015. Estimates say around 30% of the area has been affected.