EU ban forces Indian mango exporters to reevaluate
An Indian mango exporter disappointed with this week’s ban from the EU on the nation's mangoes has spoken with www.freshfruitportal.com about his concerns over future export deals in the European market.
CEO of Delicious Mangoes, Rajeev Srivastava, received an official memorandum from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture dated March 6, 2014 detailing how all fresh produce would be routed through pack houses from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) before being exported to the EU.
However, on Wednesday, Indian mangoes, eggplant, two types of gourd and the taro plant were banned from the European market following serious concerns about high levels of contamination, mainly from non-European fruit flies.
The emergency measure comes into effect on May 1, 2014 and follows a meeting of EU member states to discuss the shortcomings of the phytosantiary certification system for produce sent to the EU The ban will last until at least December 2015.
This means that Delicious Mangoes will have to shelve plans to open up new export deals in the EU and instead find alternative markets in North and Latin America as outlined in a previous interview with www.freshfruitportal.com in February.
"As far as we know, all fresh produce including mangoes destined for EU countries from India will be processed at APEDA-certified pack houses. The new guidelines will be effective for the coming mango season 2014. In other words, Indian pack houses need to be APEDA-certified and the consignment should be checked and passed by APEDA," Srivastava said.
"Indian mangoes are world famous but issues like interceptions of harmful organisms in mangoes for import to EU countries needs to be verified and elaborated.
"Exporters and farmers should be told what kind of organisms have been found. Is it pest or a disease? Until a report is made public or until we get the findings, how can we improve? Moreover our Indian scientists have been working very hard for decades, especially with mangoes."
Delicious Mangoes had planned to supply markets in Spain, Germany, France, Italy and Portugal by taking advantage of new direct flight routes to the countries providing a direct connection from India.
"We as an exporter who intended to start business in E.U. countries feel very low because we strongly believe in quality, but if the ban comes to force until 2015, some good exporters might miss the chance," Srivastava said.
"At the same time, this warning should enable us to set higher quality standards to avoid any rejections. It is likely that suppliers will shift their focus to North American and Latin American markets."
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