'Indian mangoes a hit with Americans'
A year after the US permitted import of Indian mangoes once again, the king of fruits has become a hit, with varieties like Alphonso, Kesar, Langra, Chausa and Mallika set to become a part of their lexicon, a state-run export promotion agency has said.
India, which exported 150 tonnes of mangoes to the US last year, is expected to see the quantity doubling this year, says the commerce ministry's Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
"The sheer taste of Indian mangoes has mesmerised not only non-resident Indians but others as well. The US is going to be a huge market for Indian mangoes," said R.K. Boyal, general manager of the agency.
"In terms of taste and flavour, Indian mangoes proved their superiority over their Latin American counterparts, which are 'thick-skinned'. There is, in fact, no comparison between our mangoes and theirs," Boyal told IANS.
After an 18-year wait the first consignment of Indian mangoes reached the US last year. US Trade Representative Susan Schwab and Indian Ambassador to US Ronen Sen were among those who rejoiced the arrival of the first consignment.
The US, which is home to an estimated two million people of Indian origin, had banned the import of Indian mangoes in 1989, over problems with pests such as fruit flies and weevils.
A pact between US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi in March 2006 to promote trade in agriculture, among other issues, paved the way for re-exports of mangoes from India to the US again.
Apeda organised a mango promotion festival in New York June 5-9 and in Los Angels June 10-13.
"The response from NRIs and others was quite encouraging. They bought several cartons of mangoes brought for display. Each box containing two to three kilos of mangoes sold for $30," Boyal told IANS.
Boyal, also in-charge of marketing and promotion of fruit exports, was himself in the US to oversee the promotional campaign.
APEDA has decided to incorporate mango along with pomegranate, onion, basmati rice, honey, poultry, groundnuts and organic products in its traceability system, which lets one know from where, say, mangoes have come and contained any pesticides or not.
"The traceability system will certainly help the exporters of mangoes as well. It makes the task quite easier, as quality related information about products is just a click away," said Boyal.
During 2007-12, APEDA has planned to expand the market base for several items including mangoes, pomegranate, grapes, and organic products in Japan, the US, China, Indonesia, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the European Union, the Middle East and Switzerland.
APEDA data says India exported 79,060.88 tonnes of fresh mangoes and 156,835.52 tonnes of mango pulp in 2006-07. Major markets for Indian mangoes are the UAE, Japan, Europe, the Middle East, Canada, Germany and Hong Kong.
Mango contributes 40 percent to the national fruit production of 22.168 million tonnes and occupies 42 percent of the country's total fruit area of 24.87 million hectares.