India's leading export promotion agency has criticised the temporary ban imposed by the European Union on mango imports and has appealed to Brussels to overturn its decision.
The 28-member European Union (EU) has temporarily banned the import of higly prized Alphonso mangoes, and four vegetables (eggplant, the taro plant, bitter gourd and snake gourd) from India from May 1. The decision was taken by the Grouping’s Standing Committee on Plant Health after finding 207 consignments of fruits and vegetables imported from India into the EU in 2013 were found to be infested with fruit flies and other quarantine pests. About 6% of fruit and vegetables imported from India were found to be contaminated by fruit flies.
India is one of the largest producer and supplier of mangoes in the world and accounts for nearly 50 per cent of the world production. The country exports about 50,000 metric tonnes of mangoes to 80 countries with annual revenue of around US$90 million. The United Kingdom itself imports nearly 16 million mangoes from India and the market for the ‘ king of fruits’ is worth near about 6 million pounds per year.
A revision of the ban will take place before December 31, 2015. Considering the kind of revenue the exports of Alphonso mangoes generate every year, the ban is a big blow for the Indian fruits and vegetable market. Market pundits are expecting that the ban will definitely affect the farmers and will hit the prices as, the unsent mangoes and vegetables will be diverted to the local market and will cause a supply glut that will reduce the cost of otherwise costly fruits in Indian market.
Wholesalers and retailers in Indian-dominated regions of the UK have also opposed the ban, which has comes into effect from May 1, saying it will hit them hard. 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 has called the mango ban “Euro-nonsense and bureaucracy gone mad.”