Mango exporters in South worried by new norms in traditional market

9 May, 2018


South Indian mango exporters, particularly in Tamil Nadu, are worried about being excluded from Malaysia, a traditional market. It has insisted on irradiation treatment of fruits and restricted the States from which the fruits can be sourced.

Exporters understand that the irradiation treatment is to kill mango weevil, an insect pest that lives inside the seed. But their concern is that import permits are limited to mangoes from Maharashtra, UP and Gujarat which it considers weevil-free.

According to official statistics, these three States account for one-third of India’s mango production of about 186 lakh tonnes.

Malaysian mango imports is estimated at about ₹ 100 crore annually, about 10,000 tonnes, and exports from India had been allowed free till 2016. But over the last couple of years the challenges have emerged, according to the Tamil Nadu Agro Products Exporters Forum.


The Forum’s coordinator Ka Ve Ezhilan said that government should take up the issue as Malaysia has insisted on irradiation treatment of mangoes but continues with limiting imports of fruits to the three States which it says are weevil-free.

In an official representation, the Forum had pointed out that all other mango producing States have been excluded. Exporters from South India had previously subjected fruit consignments to random check for the pest by plant quarantine authorities before shipment.

But, in 2016, Malaysian authorities had detected the pest in three shipments from India and all three had been from Maharashtra, according to the Forum. Also, Malaysia continues to import from Thailand and Australia where the pest is known to be present. But these are allowed because of trade agreements, according to Ezhilan.

APEDA (Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) officials said the issue can be addressed. There is no cause for concern among exporters.

In addition, mango exporters have expressed worry over the inadequate treatment facilities in South India. Apart from irradiation, exporters need treatment facilities such as automatically controlled hot water baths. European countries expect mangoes to be dunked in 50 degrees centigrade water for one hour to kill the fruit fly that lives in the pulp. Japan insists on water vapour treatment for 30 minutes.

But the irradiation facility, which Australia and the US also insist on, is only available in Bengaluru; vapour heat treatment in Tirupati; and the hot water treatment in Bengaluru and Tirupati for entire South India. More such facilities are needed, Ezhilan said.

In addition, in Tamil Nadu mango farmers are not aware on the need for registering with APEDA to be eligible to supply to exporters. Last year, over 1,200 orchards were registered from the State but this year just 63. They do not realise that the registration has to be renewed, he said.

For the current season, the registrations have been closed. A concerted effort is needed to educate orchard owners, he said.

According to APEDA, over 23,000 orchards are registered across the country for the current season with the highest registrations of over 11,000 from Karnataka. States such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra account for nearly half of India’s mango production.

APEDA (Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) officials said the issue can be addressed. There is no cause for concern among exporters.

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