Mauritius opened up its $1.5 billion market for Indian mangoes, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited that country recently.
For several years, Mauritius was not issuing sanitary and phyto-sanitary clearances to Indian mangoes, thanks to fear of fruit flies in cargoes. But, emphasising the need of improving regional co-operation, the Indian government took up the matter with highest authorities in Mauritius. Following that, Modi held extensive meeting with his Mauritian counterpart Anerood Jugnauth on his recent tour to the eastern countries.
The governments of India and the tiny island country in the east signed an agreement in early March under which Indian exporters can ship mangoes to Mauritius between April 1 and August 31.
"Until now, we were not receiving clearances for mango consignments from Mauritius, as local authorities in that country were not issuing required certificates. Now, we will be able to supply mangoes to Mauritius," said Insaram Ali, president, All India Mango Producers' Association.
Mauritius imports a large quantity of mango from Pakistan due to price competitiveness. Mango export from Pakistan works out to cheaper for that country than that from India. But, non-availability of the king of mango - Alphonso - and certain other varieties might give India some advantages over Pakistan.
In January, the European Union lifted seven-month old ban on import of Indian mango. The EU had suspended import of Indian mangoes mid-2014 following presence of fruit flies in more than 200 cargoes.
Meanwhile, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) has urged exporters to follow proper guidelines to make Indian mangoes acceptable for Mauritian consumers. Apeda has urged exporters to make vapour heat treatment at 47.8 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes or hot water treatment as specified by global norms.
"Exporters can utilise the current mango season for export to Mauritius," said R Ravindra, deputy general manager, Apeda. Meanwhile, opening up of two major markets, Mauritius and European Union, will help push mango exports. Mango production in India is likely to decline this year by 25-30 per cent, due to crop damage following unseasonal rainfall in major growing states.