The Maharashtra State Agricultural Board (MSAMB) has decided to introduce Indian mangoes to Central Asian countries this season.
MSAMB Director-General DD Shinde said they are planning promotional events with Indian embassies in those countries. That being said, the US phytosanitary inspector was expected to arrive on April 10, marking the start of exports to the country.
The current season has raised some doubts about the availability of mangoes in the country. Unusually high temperatures in February, followed by rain and hailstorms in March, have led to growers complaining about the availability of quality fruit.
This season, however, Kesar, the product of Marathwada, is expected to arrive earlier than usual. Alphonso or Hapus – the high priced products of Maharashtra’s Konkan Coast – may suffer from lower than usual production.
In the last financial year, Indian exporters shipped 32,745 tons of the fruit. Most of the fruit is exported to Central Asian countries, while European Union countries and the US occupy important shelves in the export basket.
In most countries, exporters send their shipment by air, which is both unsafe and expensive. For the US, air freight in US markets sometimes exceeds the cost of shipment. Land and sea freight is comparatively less, but given the perishability of the fruit, much research remains to be done.
Shinde said their decision to introduce Indian mangoes to Central Asian countries was to explore markets that can be served by road and sea freight. “We are in talks with Indian embassies to hold promotional events there,” he said. This season, some of the exporters are also in talks with their trading counterparts in the US to explore ocean freight.
According to the protocol, deliveries to the USA are made under the supervision of the inspector. Exports to the US begin as soon as the inspector arrives. The export season will soon begin in Australia, New Zealand and Japan as well.
The MSAMB operates a huge export promotion center in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, which exporters use to handle their shipments before shipping. Countries have their own protocol, including steam heat treatment, irradiation (exposing the shipment to low-level radioactive radiation), and hot water treatment.