The European Union has banned the import of Alphonso mangoes and some vegetables into Europe from India. The Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India had registered a formal disagreement about the restrictions even though the ban was temporary. Since the ban came at the time of the peak mango season in May 2014, it led to a huge loss for Indian mango farmers. The only people happy with the ban were the Indian domestic consumers who got to eat the expensive Alphonso at much cheaper rates. India exports approximately between Rs.35 crore to Rs.50 crore worth of mangoes annually.
The European Union had asked India to implement certain control systems. The European Union audit team has recently visited India to inspect the implemented control systems prior to lifting the ban. The Indian government is hopeful that the audit team will be satisfied with the implementation of these control systems and that the ban on Indian mangoes and vegetables would be lifted. The EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) team has inspected the vegetable and fruit pack houses and other facilities and also studied the plant health controls and certification system.
India has taken all appropriate measures to guarantee safe exports and better inspection and certification procedures by
- enhancing the capacity and number of inspecting staff
- improving infrastructure
- implementing a standard operating procedure (SOP)
- routing all export assignments of perishable items through approved pack houses
The European Union FVO officials also met for talks with APEDA. According to sources it seems that the FVO team is satisfied with the measures taken by India. They will now present their report to all EU members and ask them to deliberate on this matter before they lift the ban.
If European countries are satisfied then there is reason to hope that the ban will be lifted by the time the next mango season is here. The FVO also met with officials of the National Plant Protection Authority (NPPA) besides talking with APEDA. All in all the FVO audit team has expressed satisfaction with the recent implementations and hopefully the banned Indian mangoes and vegetables would be back in European markets.