India irked by EU mango ban (Update)

Apr 29, 2014

India's leading export promotion agency criticised a European ban on mango imports as unjustified on Tuesday and appealed to Brussels to overturn its decision.

The 28-member European Union imposed the ban, to take effect May 1, on import of the highly prized Alphonso mangoes, known as the "king of fruits", and four vegetables after finding unwanted pests such as "non-European fruit flies" in consignments.

"Now all consignments are undergoing certification and testing to address the concerns," Rafiq Ahmed, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), a government-affiliated organisation, told AFP.

"We ask the EU to look into the matter—we have taken care of the issues. Now they should lift the ban," Ahmed said.

The EU ban affects 16 million tonnes of mangoes. India, the world's largest exporter, sells up to 70,000 tonnes of various mangoe varieties globally.

But exporters said other buyers in the Gulf and the Asia-Pacific region are looking at buying the Indian mangoes.

An Indian commerce ministry official told AFP that New Delhi has already raised the issue with Brussels and will do so again.

The Brussels-based Europe India Chamber of Commerce (EICC) separately issued a statement saying the ban could derail slow-moving free trade talks between India underway since 2007.

"There was no scientific justification for the ban," said Sunil Prasad, EICC secretary-general, calling the move "misguided".

The EU plant health care committee announced plans last month for the ban after 207 Indian consignments of fruits and vegetables were found to be contaminated by pests. Among the vegetables banned are bitter gourd and eggplant.

The EU said it acted to tackle what it called "significant shortcomings in the phytosanitary certification system."

It noted a high number of consignments arriving with "pests, mainly insects, like non-European fruit flies".

Though the prohibited goods account for under five percent of total fresh fruits and vegetables imported into the EU from India, introduction of new pests could threaten EU agriculture, the committee said.

The ban, due to run from May 1 to December 2015, has enraged some in Britain, a key market for Indian growers where London's mayor Boris Johnson supported the first-ever Indian mango festival in Trafalgar Square last year.

Indian-origin lawmaker Keith Vaz called the ban "Euro-nonsense and bureaucracy gone mad."

"Indian mangoes have been imported to Britain for centuries," Vaz said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The EU ban has led to a mango surplus in Indian markets, driving down prices to fruit lovers' delight but agricultural officials are dismayed.

"The export ban will definitely affect farmers and prices... and cause a supply glut," Miling Joshi, an official at the Mango & Cashew Board told AFP.

But Rajiv Tevtiya, founder of e-commerce supply company Greencart in Mumbai, said farmers producing the finest quality Alphonsos would not lose out.

"Indian exporters now are getting good orders from New Zealand and the Gulf," Tevtiya told AFP.

Explore further: YouTube appeals to Turkey's Constitutional Court over ban

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russia to resume buying Spanish, Danish vegetables

Jul 01, 2011

(AP) -- Russia has lifted a ban on vegetable imports from Spain and Denmark that was put in place amid an E. coli outbreak in Europe, the country's consumer rights watchdog said Friday.

Brussels says no plans for EU-wide shale gas ban

Jul 16, 2013

The European Union has no plans to impose a blanket ban on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial shale gas extraction method, but it will lay out rules to address environmental concerns, a top EU official ...

EU slaps seafood trade ban on Belize, Cambodia, Guinea

Mar 24, 2014

In its toughest move yet to eradicate illegal fishing, the European Union on Monday blacklisted Belize, Cambodia and Guinea, effectively banning their products from the world's most valuable seafood market.

Recommended for you

Invasive lionfish likely safe to eat after all

16 hours ago

Scientists have learned that recent fears of invasive lionfish causing fish poisoning may be unfounded. If so, current efforts to control lionfish by fishing derbies and targeted fisheries may remain the ...

User comments : 0