EU ban floods India with mangoes, prices plunge

April 30, 2014

A European Union ban on import of Indian mangoes, including the famed Alphonsos, from tomorrow and a resultant glut in supply is pushing down prices in the local market, reports Times of India. Although Indian consumers are happy over the falling price, the country’s farmers and exporters criticised the European ban and appealed to Brussels to overturn its decision.
The 28-member EU imposed the ban, to take effect from tomorrow, on import of mangoes including the highly prized Alphonso mangoes, known as the ‘king of fruits’, and four vegetables from India after finding unwanted pests such as ‘non-European fruit flies’ in some consignments, reports Agence France-Presse.
The Agricultural Produce Market Committee fruit market in Vashi is receiving record supplies, adds Times of India report.
‘After the Sunday break, there was a record inflow of around 2.5 lakh boxes in over 650 trucks compared to last week’s 400-500 truckloads a day. This extra supply will bring down the local market prices. Already, traders are selling premium quality mangoes at Rs 150 per kg which seems to be a far better deal than in previous seasons,’ said Sanjay Pansare, director of the APMC fruit market.
The Federation of Indian Export Organisations, a government-affiliated organisation, however, said the European ban on mango imports was unjustified, according to the AFP report
‘Now all consignments are undergoing certification and testing to address the concerns,’ said Rafiq Ahmed, president of the FIEO.
‘We ask the EU to look into the matter — we have taken care of the issues. Now they should lift the ban,’ Ahmed said.
Meanwhile, a commerce ministry official told AFP that New Delhi has already raised the issue with Brussels.
The EU plant health care committee announced plans last month to introduce the ban after 207 Indian consignments of fruits and vegetables were found to be contaminated by pests such as fruit flies.
Among the vegetables banned are bitter gourd and eggplant.
The EU said it acted to tackle what it called ‘significant shortcomings in the phytosanitary certification system of such products exported to the EU’.
It noted a high number of consignments arriving with ‘quarantine pests, mainly insects, like non-European fruit flies’.
Though the prohibited goods account for below five per cent of the total fresh fruits and vegetables imported into the EU from India, introduction of new pests could threaten EU agriculture and production, the committee said.
The ban is due to run from May 1 to December 2015 but Ahmed said the ban should be lifted earlier.
The ban has enraged some in Britain, a key market for Indian growers where London’s mayor Boris Johnson supported the first-ever Indian mango festival in Trafalgar Square last year.
Indian-origin lawmaker Keith Vaz called the mango ban ‘Euro-nonsense and bureaucracy gone mad.’
‘Indian mangoes have been imported to Britain for centuries,’ Vaz said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
But the EU ban has led to a surplus of mangoes in local Indian markets, driving down prices to the delight of local fruit lovers.
‘The export ban will definitely affect farmers and prices because the unsent mangoes will be diverted to local markets and cause a supply glut,’ Miling Joshi, an official at the Mango & Cashew Board told AFP.

-With New Age input

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