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EU ban floods India with mangoes, prices plunge

A European Union ban on import of Indian mangoes, including the famed Alphonsos, from May 1 and a resultant glut in supply is pushing down prices in the local market much to the delight of domestic consumers.

The Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) fruit market in Vashi is receiving record supplies. “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.

On Monday, with over 650 trucks flooding the market complex, there were chaotic scenes and a massive traffic snarl that took till afternoon to clear. Among the reasons, officials said, were a good crop and a majority of labourers having left for their native places either for elections or summer vacation.

 India’s leading export promotion agency criticised a European ban on mango imports as unjustified on Tuesday and appealed to Brussels to overturn its decision.

The 28-member European Union imposed the ban, to take effect May 1, on import of the highly prized Alphonso mangoes, known as the “king of fruits”, and four vegetables after finding unwanted pests such as “non-European fruit flies” in some consignments

“Now all consignments are undergoing certification and testing to address the concerns,” Rafiq Ahmed, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), a government-affiliated organisation, told AFP. 

“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 percent 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.

mango mania india

mango mania india

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.

But Indian farmers are dismayed.

“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.

source : http://www.australianexporter.com.au/2014/04/29/eu-ban-floods-india-mangoes-prices-plunge/