In a significant change in the sentiment post Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Japan, the Japanese authority has expedited procedural obligations to step up mango import from India.
Advancing the process, Japanese quarantine authorities have sought details of Vapor Heat Treatment (VHT) facilities across Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP and West Bengal (mango imports are permitted from these states) to appoint a supervisor for inspection.
The VHT system is a non-chemical alternative to control and quarantine unwanted insects and fungi in perishable commodities and tropical fruits. Interestingly, the health ministry of Japan had in early July exempted inspection for chlorpyrifos, a chemical residue, in Indian mangoes.
Carrying out the Japan’s motif, India’s agricultural export promotion body, the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) has asked its interested members to submit details of VHT facilities by December 30 to enable it to extend the same to the Japanese quarantine authorities.
“Upon receipt of the information from your end we will be forwarding the same to the Japanese quarantine authorities for processing our request for deputation of the inspectors. The Japanese authorities need sufficient lead time for processing such requests,” said R Ravindra, Deputy General Manager, Apeda.
India’s fresh mango exports to Japan plunged to almost 'nil' in the last two years due to stringent quality norms set by the importing authorities. During 2011-12, however, India’s mango exports to Japan stood at 70 tonnes worth $0.18 million.
Japan currently ranks on 51st in India’s mango exports, way behind much smaller countries including Mali, Zambia, Poland and Portugal, slipping from 19th rank in 2011-12. United Arab Emirates continues to lead with over 50% of share in India’s overall mango exports.
Modi’s five-day visit to Japan in September strengthened trade ties between the two countries.
While similar attempts were made during the last mango season, because of late initiatives, mango exports to Japan yielded elusive results.
“This year, we do not want to leave any stone unturned. We are making all possible attempts to increase our mango exports to Japan,” said an industry official.
Apeda official, however, cautioned exporters that once details of the VHT facility and the schedule of the inspectors are finalized, there would be no change in the programme.
Also, the VHT facility must necessarily make all tie ups with pack houses/growers etc for proper off take to justify the deputation of the Japanese quarantine inspectors. As per protocol signed between the two countries, Japan accepts VHT mango varieities –Alphonso, Kesar, Banganpalli, Langra, Chausa and Malika only from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP and West Bengal.
Japan imposed a ban on the import of Indian mangoes because of suspected pest infestation by fruits flies. After two decades of the ban, Japan allowed import of Indian mango on June 23, 2006. However, since then, Japan has kept low on mango import from India.