Mango exports to US double, result is high

India’s exports of Alphonos, Kesar and Banganpalli mangoes to the high-value United States market have more than doubled in the current season (April-June) compared to the same period last year due to a drop in air freight and a new irradiation facility in Ahmedabad.

According to sources, mango exports to the US have surpassed 2,000 tons in the current season, up from 891 tons in the 2022-23 season. Exports of the Banganpalli and Kesar varieties to South Korea, another high-value market, have started this season. Exports are currently being made to the UK.

Exporters said Alphonso and Kesar varieties were sold at a premium of US$9/kg and US$7/kg respectively in the US market.

Trade sources said that one of the factors behind the surge in mango exports to the US and UK this year is the low cost of air freight rates, which have risen sharply in recent years due to the pandemic and have “normalized” since then.

“The price difference between an Indian mango and those from South American countries has narrowed, and since Indian mangoes are shipped by air, their flavor and freshness are preserved, while mangoes from South America are shipped to the US by road,” explains Kaushal Khakhar . CEO Kay Bee Exports, one of Maharashtra’s leading mango exporters, said.

Currently, mangoes exported to the US undergo an irradiation process, in which the fruit is exposed to gamma radiation that kills insects or pesticides in the fruit, while countries such as Japan and South Korea are looking to import fruit that have undergone steam heat treatment and hot water treatment to eliminate the presence from pests.

Officials said the irradiation facility at Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation, Ahmedabad, along with similar facilities in Vashi (Navi Mumbai), Nasik and Bengaluru, has helped expand mango exports to a high-value market like the United States.

Exports of mangoes were halted in 2020 and 2021 as US Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors were unable to visit India to inspect irradiation facilities due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Development Authority (APEDA) has assisted government agencies to build steam heat treatment plants in Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Vashi (Maharashtra), Nuzvid and Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh).

India is the world’s largest mango producer, followed by China. However, the country exports less than 1%, mainly due to the lack of a sea container protocol and the high cost of air freight. The uniqueness of Indian mangoes lies in their sweetness and smaller size.

For mango exports, APEDA has 15 clusters in Maharashtra (Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg), Gujarat (Junagarh, Valsad, Kutch and Navsari), Uttar Pradesh (Saharanpur, Meerut and Lucknow), Telangana (Rangareddy, Mehboobnagar and Warangal) and Andhra Pradesh (Krishna, Chittoor and Kurnool).

In 2022-23, the United Arab Emirates (46%), the United Kingdom, the United States (9%), Qatar (8%) and Kuwait (6%) accounted for 84% of the value of India’s fresh mango exports.

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