The European Union’s (EU) ban on the Indian Alphonso mango is likely to be lifted soon. This will once again pave the way for the export of Indian mangoes to the EU. The news has come in the wake of EU Plant Health Standing Committee voting in favour of lifting the restrictions. UK along with other member states voted in favour of lifting the ban on Indian mangoes that had been placed on them last year.
Temporary restriction had been placed on Indian fruit after plant pests were found in the shipments of fruit from India. These plant pests were becoming a threat to UK’s flourishing salad crop industry. The ban that was to be in place till December 2015 has been lifted earlier than expected. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in India has welcomed EU’s vote to remove the ban on Indian mango imports to EU.
The UK government has been very supportive in providing technical assistance through Defra’s Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate. The Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate visited India in August and November 2014 to help India improve its export system by provided training according to EU standards in exporting fruit. The UK experts from the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate also worked with the Indian authorities to help them to prepare for an EU audit of their export system. Since there has been a marked improvement in the system the European Commission agreed for an early review and asked their auditors, the Food and Veterinary Office, to assess the case to see if the ban could be lifted earlier than previously decided.
Indian imports will resume only after the new EU legislation has been formally adopted and published which could take a month’s time. The approval has, however, brought clarity for Indian exporters and so they can begin to prepare for the export of Indian mangoes by March 2015. Checks will however, continue so that only safe products enter EU. The import of mangoes will also determine whether or not restrictions on the import of other banned Indian fruits will be lifted or not.