With the opening up of the US and Japanese markets, the Indian mango industry expects Australia and New Zealand, the only two countries which still ban the fruit, to lift import restrictions soon.
Exports to these countries, which are known for strict sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards, are likely to begin from the next season. Japan lifted a six-year-old ban on Indian mango varieties such as Alphonso, Banganpalli, Chausa, Kesar, Langra and Mallika last year.
To address sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures for exports, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority has set up a Vapour Heat Treatment plant in Vashi, Mumbai.
Three more such VHT plants will come up in Tirupati and Nuzvid in Andhra Pradesh and Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh costing Rs 8 crore (Rs 80 million) per plant.
Three private VHT plants have already come up in Chittoor, Thane and Nashik. Small quantities of the fruit were being exported indirectly to these countries through other nations after the mangoes were treated with irradiation and vapour heat treatment, an official from the agriculture ministry said.
Currently, negotiations are focused on allowing the entry of varieties such as Malda and Dushehari into Australia and New Zealand. Talks are also on with Japanese authorities for export of these two varieties.
APEDA estimates that India exported 69.60 million tonnes of mangoes worth $28.94 million during 2005-06 and $28.13 million during April-September 2006-07.
Minister of State for Commerce, Jairam Ramesh flagged the first consignment of Banganpalli mangoes to Japan on Sunday.
According to commerce ministry estimates, about 35-40 tonnes of Banganpalli mangoes would be exported to Japan by the end of the season (July-end). These mangoes are likely to retail at Rs 200 for one in Japanese stores.
To give a further impetus to mango exports to Japan, Minister for Commerce Kamal Nath will inaugurate a six-day festival mango festival on May 23. Similar exhibitions are also planned in the US in June.
The first consignment of Alphonso and Kesari mangoes landed in the US this May, after the country had lifted an import ban on April 26, after a gap of 18 years. This was possible after US President George W Bush, during his visit to India in March, 2006, expressed his desire to have Indian mangoes in his country.
For exports to United States, an irradiation facility for processing mangoes to meet health standards of that country is presently located at Lasal Gaon, Nashik.