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Crop damage ruins India’s mango export season

  • Crop damage ruins India’s mango export season

    by Market Insider

    Tuesday, 05 May. 2015

    Hopes were high in India this season as an early lifting of the European-ban on mango imports signaled the start of what promised to be a successful domestic and export campaign, however the reality for 2015 is very different.

    There are low volumes of mango in India this season: severe weather damaged significant proportions of the crop, leading to price pressures on the domestic market and, in terms of exports, sales and volumes are not as good as they could be.

    While the damages occurred due to recent repeated rains are still being assessed as the harvest continues, preliminary estimates point towards a minimum loss of 20% on production and the country is likely to suffer a setback on the production front with the current year’s production falling below 15 million mt.

    India continues to struggle to make headway in the export of mangoes, despite its potential for being a global leader for the crop; the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) tried to address the reasons behind this and put forward a plan of action to transform India’s export volumes and value.

    According to Assocham, considering the production volumes and variety of Indian mangoes the country’s export at 41,280 mt is almost insignificant and India’s share in global markets is very little. Countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru, South Africa, Kenya, Israel and Australia have taken up large scale cultivation of mango and succeeded in building a base in the export market.

    India has a presence in the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (U.K), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Nepal as well as small export volumes to continental Europe but it is facing ‘several challenges’ in mango exports around the world. Although the EU is a lucrative market, Indian exporters struggle to cope with different MRLs (maximum residue limits) for pesticides, drugs and other contaminants as well as ‘complex procedures for sampling and product testing’. In addition, irradiation, vapor heat treatment (VHT), phytosanitary requirements and supervision by importing countries inspectors’ often create hurdles in smooth and fast exports.

    However, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is taking pro-active steps to mitigate hurdles such as the introduction of Mangonet, an online traceability system that registers mango growers and exporters to enable importers and retailers in the European Union to check complete details of shipments and track the farm origin. Mangonet was set up following successful launches of similar online initiatives for grapes and pomegranates.

    In 2001 the Ministry of Commerce began to operate a scheme where 60 Agri-export Zones (AEZs) were set up in various states connected with mango production including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu; the aim of the initiative was to promote mango exports on a global scale but this seems to have failed to have any significant impact over the years.

    Although the AEZ scheme helped in promoting agri exports, it was never able to achieve or accelerate the pace/volume of mango exports as intended. Hence it would be necessary a thorough overhaul of the scheme to converge the efforts of central and state government to increase agro-exports; the required steps are being taken by the government in this direction to realize the objectives of the scheme.

    Regardless of the huge potential in mango exports, India is unable to exploit the opportunities; in the current year, poor quality and lower production prospects are likely to impact mango exports from India badly.

    Domestically, mango will be extremely expensive this season, up by approximately 65% according to Assocham, due to the series of weather setbacks which have badly damaged volumes and quality. Unseasonal rains have resulted in production losses of up to 50% in some states and prices have gone up at a far higher rate compared with other fruit and vegetables.

    Although various state governments have announced relief measures including compensation, these are not enough to mitigate losses incurred by farmers and have an impact on price spikes.

    Source: Freshfruitportal

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