EU lifts ban on mango imports from India

EU lifts ban on mango imports from India

EU lifts ban on mango imports from India

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday decided to lift a seven-month-long ban on the import of mangoes from India, after the world’s biggest producer made significant improvements in plant health controls and certification system, clearing the way for them to return to the 28-member bloc by March.

However, the prohibition on the import of vegetables from India will be reviewed later, after collecting more evidence, said the EU in a statement.A European Commission committee meeting in Brussels voted to lift the ban on mangoes on Tuesday.

“A proposal by the commission to lift the import ban of mangoes from India was today (on Tuesday) endorsed by Member State experts meeting at the relevant Regulatory Committee concerned with Plant Health,” said the statement. “An audit carried out by the commission’s Food and Veterinary Office in India in September 2014 showed significant improvements in the phytosanitary export certification system.”

The EU’s “temporary ban” came into force on May 1 last year, and was to remain effective until December 2015, after authorities in Brussels found consignments of premium Alphonso mangoes infested with fruit flies that they feared could damage European salad crops.

After Tuesday's vote, the EU said, “India has also provided assurances that appropriate measures are now available to ensure that the export of mangoes are free from quarantine pest, like the fruit flies not known to occur in the Union. The measures will allow the import of mango fruits before the start of the next import season in March 2015.” 

The piece of legislation now needs to be formally adopted and published by the European Commission.

This will take around a month, but the positive vote by the Committee gives certainty to Indian exporters and UK importers about the position for the forthcoming mango season.

The EU accounts for more than 50 per cent of total exports of fruit and vegetables from India. The UK is the main destination, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

The UK imports nearly 1.6 crore mangoes from India, and the market for this fruit is worth nearly £6 million a year.

India, the world’s largest exporter, sells about 65,000-70,000 tonnes of all varieties of mangoes in the global market out of total production of 15-16 lakh tonnes.

In 2013-14 fiscal, India had exported mangoes worth $8.9 million (nearly 4,000 tonnes) to EU nations.

Overall, India exported mangoes worth $50.7 million in 2013-14 financial year and $43.9 million in the first six months of current fiscal. 

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