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Friday, 18 January 2013

Export of Indian Mango to USA




Global Overview — owing to their unique flavor and limited availability, mangoes are increasingly being looked upon as an exotic fruit across the globe. There are a limited number of countries that have been able to answer this sudden surge in demand for mangoes. Most of the leading mango-producing nations are located within the Asian sub-continent. The demand for mangoes has increased multifold in the last decade and India has emerged as one of leading provider of mangoes to demanding nations.



India as a Mango Destination
Due to its climatic conditions and natural soil types that are suited for cultivation of mangoes, India has emerged as the outright frontrunner in the race to being the most preferred mango supplier. It does have some competition from nations like China and Bangladesh but the margin is huge, as India alone accounts for nearly 40% of the global mango production. The rise in the popularity of this fruit has translated into a very conducive global market and nations, including those from the Middle East, the United Kingdom and Japan are known to pay very high prices for mangoes procured from the Indian sub-continent.

Currently, the US demand (from India) is centered on the Alphonso variety of mango. Indian mango varieties that are usually exported along with their months of availabilities:
  • Alphonso (March to June)
  • Dashehari (May to July)
  • Langra (June to July)
  • Chausa (June to August)

Mango Exports to the US: The Story So Far
One of India’s traditional clients for mangoes was the United States but about two decades ago, this relationship suffered a major setback when Indian mangoes were banned in the US due to some concerns regarding the quality of pesticides used in India. However, India was able to gain a re-entry into the US mango market in April 2007. This only happened after a series of decade-long negotiations and it was eventually decided that the mangoes exported to the US would be irradiated to maintain their compatibility with the quality standards.

— Lure of the US market
The US represents the single largest importer of mangoes. Establishing a long-term trade with the US market means an assurance of profitability for the Indian farmers. Further, the demand patterns in the US for mangoes is only rising with each passing season as the volume of the Indian diaspora keeps on multiplying and the increasing exposure to this fruit creates more household demand.

— Challenges for conquering the US market
India may be the largest global mango producer, but that necessarily doesn't translate into large volumes being exported. The massive domestic consumption ensures that an insignificant part of the total mangoes produced is reserved for exports.

Out of a total aggregate of 14 million metric tons, India exports only 60,000 metric tons.

The American authorities see this as a major hurdle since they need substantial volumes and that too particular ones, every year. However, with the local demand within India so robust, the incentive for the farmers to invest in specifically-grown mangoes for the US is rather limited. Again, being a short-lived fruit that requires exhaustive maintenance when being exported, trading with neighboring nations is a much more inviting proposition for mango traders in India.

There are about 1,000 domestic Indian varieties of the mango, but a staggeringly-low number of 20 are known to be classified as commercially-viable.

The Distance Deterrent — Americans are more familiar with mangoes procured from the southern American nations like Mexico. This preference is because mangoes sourced from near the American border tend to remain fresher for a longer period of time. Similarly, mangoes sourced from Indian states like Maharashtra and Gujarat are preferred in the US since they are closer to the trading route and the merchandise can American shores is a much better state.

Some quick facts about the mango trade between India and United States:
  • In 2008, India exported more than 143 metric tones of mangoes to the States. This was regarded a low-productive mango season in India due to non-seasonal rains. Still, the total trade volume exceeded $1 million
  • India’s leading irradiation facility is the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, located at Lasalgaon, Nashik, Maharashtra
  • The prices of mangoes that are air-freighted to US are very high. Therefore, the APEDA wants to export mangoes in container-shipments

Initiatives for Meeting the Quality Standards of the US Market
The APEDA, i.e. the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority has set up a list of many guidelines that need to be followed for exporting mangoes to the United States. These guidelines are very comprehensive and include specific details across many levels including:
  • Orchard Level
  • Packinghouse Level
  • Treatment Facility Level
  • Airport level

Other bodies that are involved in framing the regulations and rules governing the quality of mangoes that gain entry into the US include:
  • USDA — US Department of Agriculture
  • APHIS — Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
  • Dte of PPQS — Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage, Ministry of
  • Agriculture, India
  • NPPO — National Plant Protection Organization, India

The APHIS has laid down many requirements for the kind of India mangoes that can enter the American market. Some of the highlights of its lists of guidelines include:
  • Mangoes should be treated with appropriate irradiation technology in India and the dosage of irradiation should be a bare minimum of 400 Grays
  • All importers need to have the USDA Import Permit about 30 days prior to the arrival of all irradiated mangoes from India
  • Mangoes should have had a post-harvest, fungicidal dipping in hot water at about 52 degrees Celsius along with the addition of Prochloraz at 500 ppm
  • Every mango consignment should have been inspected by the NPPO and USDA-APHIS
  • Each mango consignment should carry a Phytosanitary Certificate that is issued by the NPPO

At the moment, the average cost of a carton of Indian mangoes carrying a standard 12 pieces (packed by-the-dozen) costs about $35. When compared to mangoes sourced from South American nations, like those across the porous borders of California, these are very expensive. Here, a same packing of mangoes would cost a maximum of $10 – $12. With the onset of substantial subsidies in shipment costs and the rise in the number of irradiation facilities in India, the mango trade with the US is bound to improve. Traders in India are hoping to bring down the average price, for an average American consumer, to about $15 to $20 per carton of mangoes.