"Nasty" fungus slows Indian mango exports in 2015 - FreshFruitPortal.com

"Nasty" fungus slows Indian mango exports in 2015

Countries More News Today's Headline
"Nasty" fungus slows Indian mango exports in 2015

The EU import ban on Indian mangoes was lifted. Growers and exporters had renewed energy and expected to supply high volumes at solid prices to global markets. They were even setting up shipment trials in new importing countries. However, all these positive developments were dampened by heavy rainfall at home.

"A mixed bag" is the way one Indian mango official describes the overall crop and export campaign of 2015. Mangoes Bangana Palli - Thamizhpparithi Maari - Wikimedia Commons

"One the one hand we could ship to European Union markets like the U.K. because it was open again, but on the other hand the quality just was not there this time around," D.K Sharma, of the All India Mango Growers Association (AIMGA) tells www.freshfruitportal.com.

"Heavy rainfall earlier this year during March and April in particular, put paid to what was expected to be a very good season, especially because Indian mangoes were back in the EU."

The major mango-growing states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are where hundreds of different varieties are grown, although the export market tends to focus on key cultivars such as the Banganapalli, Suvarnarekha, Neelam and Totapuri.

In addition, Maharashtra mainly grows Alphonso mangoes which are very popular in the British and EU markets.

Many of these states were battered by downpours that coincided with growers harvesting their crops across the production belt, leading to poor quality.

Although the main importing countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bangladesh, Nepal and the U.K. still imported the Indian 'king of fruits', prices were pushed up because of limited availability and the anticipated high volumes were washed out.

"Due to the extremely heavy rain in many parts of the country - not only was the quality affected but a nasty fungus set in.

"The outside of the mango skin was a black color and the fungus ran through the fruit which of course meant that large quantities of mango were just not up to the mark and no good for export.

"Somehow a type of infection on the upper surface of the mango set in and the appearance deteriorated."

Sharma says this can happen when a delicate fruit like mango becomes saturated with water and growers may not have initially realized their crops were so badly damaged.

"We carried out assessments and found much more of the overall production volume was damaged. However, the fungus did not show up at first and farmers may have thought everything was fine when in fact it was not."

Despite the setbacks, India's total mango production this season fell just short of 43,000 metric tons (MT), according to statistics from the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

However, overall export quantities do not look too bad when compared to last season. During the 2013-14 campaign 41,280MT were exported, 55,584 MT went overseas in 2012-13, and 63,441MT were shipped in 2011-12.

"The figures for this year do not seem out of place, although from a production point of view there could have been much higher export volumes this season, if it were not for the dip in quality," says a spokesman for the Indian National Horticultural Board.

"The rains really dented the quality and the farmers just couldn't rescue much of the crop. It’s sad, but it happens all of the time in agriculture."

Campaign boost

Elsewhere, the sector was bolstered by a new agreement with Mauritius and mango shipments resuming to Japan.

In order to capitalize on the Japanese market, which has been negligible for the last few years, APEDA agreed to cover the costs for a Japanese quarantine inspector to be based at a government-backed vapor heat treatment facility to help make the fruit competitive in the East Asian market.

Earlier this year, exporters agreed to supply a minimum of 50-70MT during the 2015 season, increasing to 100MT for 2016 and 150MT in 2017.

In other markets, nominal volumes were supplied to Mauritius for the first time following a new agreement between the two countries. The forecast is an annual supply to the island nation between April and August.

Despite the disappointments, Sharma remains philosophical.

"The season is basically at an end now except for a few supplies here and there.

"Although it's true that this is not a good season for the Indian mango industry, next season could be better. Who knows because it will depend on the climatic conditions, as it always does. Here in India, farmers are at the mercy of the elements.

Photo: Thamizhpparithi Maari, via Wikimedia Commons




Subscribe to our newsletter