New York: Ayear after the lifting of an 18-year-old ban on Indian mango imports, Indian exporters are pressing US regulators to ease curbs that would make the fruit cheaper in the country.
Although Indian mangoes are among the costliest in the US—the world’s biggest importer of the fruit at 250,000 tonnes a year—the cost of a box of 12 mangoes could be lowered to $15 (Rs642) from around $30 now, officials say.
India exported mangoes worth $1 million last year, which would grow sevenfold this year, said Asit Tripathy, chairman of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda).
Tripathy said mangoes are irradiated before export as required by US authorities. This adds to the cost—around $150,000 a year. He, however, said this cost would come down as volumes increase.
He said Apeda, the apex body of Indian exporters spearheading efforts to popularize mangoes, is talking with regulators about the possibility of the fruits being tested on arrival in the US, and of random checks, rather than each batch being certified separately.
India—the world’s biggest producer of mangoes—already has two irradiation facilities, and another two are being built, including one by a private firm, Tripathy said.
Indian mangoes are airlifted because they spoil easily due to their thin skins, although irradiation increases their shelf life for a few days. He said Apeda has arranged for 10 restaurants to serve mangoes and mango-based dishes.
An Indian official, who did not wish to be identified, said exporters are hoping prices will come down in the US and Americans would prefer the Indian fruit due its distinctive taste to those imported from Central and South America.
The potential is huge as currently only the Indian diaspora is buying these mangoes, the official said at a mango fair organized by the Indian consulate here.