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SPECIAL REPORTS

Mango exports to the US on the decline; Pakistani exporters the biggest beneficiaries
Tuesday, 03 January, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Akshay Kalbag, Mumbai
India's loss is Pakistan's gain, as far as the king of fruits is concerned. Mango exports from India to the United States, which started in 2007 (in exchange for Harley-Davidson bikes), are now on the decline, while Pakistan has registered an increase in mango exports in the past few years.

According to data available with the Agricultural and Processed Food Product Export Development Authority (APEDA), the exports of mangoes from India to the US declined from 202.64 tonnes in 2008-09 to 175.40 tonnes in 2009-10, a decline of 13.4 per cent.

It declined even more sharply the following year (there was a decline of 22.1 per cent or 136.70 tonnes). The United States is a large market and as far as mangoes are concerned, it is yet to be tapped fully.

Vinod Kaul, deputy general manager, APEDA said, "The main cause for this decline is the logistic problem. There is only one irradiation facility (Krushak at Lasalgaon, Nashik), which has the approval of the USDA -APHIS (…..)."

"And since the quality of the fruit is paramount, due to the unseasonal climatic variations at the peak of export time, the quality of the fruit available declined last year. This resulted in the shortage of exports," he added.

At the time of the launch, the body had expected mango exports to the US to touch between 900 and 1, 000 tonnes per annum in the next three to five years, because at that point, the demand was high, due to the presence of a large Indian diaspora there.

But Indian mangoes have failed to meet APEDA'S expectations in the US market. In fact, instead of growing, the exports have been declining and India seems to have lost to Pakistan, which is in a more favourable position because of a stronger currency (now) and the lower freight charges.

The freight charges in India are high owing to the additional surcharge and other taxes. These add to the overall cost of the mangoes. Pakistani mangoes, on the other hand, cost 25 to 30 per cent less than Indian varieties.

Another major hurdle is that mangoes perish quickly. By the time the mangoes grown in Uttar Pradesh reach Nashik for irradiation and to become free from pests, as stipulated by the US, the quality deteriorates.

When asked how the Indian mango exporters are coping with the weakening rupee vis-a-vis the dollar, Kaul said, "The season is a few months away, so it would be premature to comment on it now."

For the record, India exported about 59, 220. 78 tonnes of mangoes worth RAS 162 crore in 2010-11. The main export destinations were the UAE (25, 725 tonnes), Bangladesh (23, 049.6 tonnes), the UK (2, 723.5 tonnes), Nepal (1, 991.3 tonnes) and Saudi Arabia (1, 592.2 tonnes).

India varieties of mangoes such as Dasheri, Langra and Chausa, which are grown in Lucknow, Saharanpur and Barabanki (all in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh), are sought after in the West.
 
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