India asks EU to lift mango ban, quality checks in place

NEW DELHI, April 30 Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:48am EDT

NEW DELHI, April 30 (Reuters) - New Delhi has asked the European Union to lift a ban on Indian mangoes, as the country has already addressed the issue cited by the 28-nation bloc in a clampdown on shipments from next month.

The EU informed India in March that shipments of premium Alphonso mangoes would be blocked from May until December 2015 after authorities in Brussels found consignments infested with fruit flies.

"Since we got to know about the issue in March, we've put in place an elaborate examination and certification procedure that addresses the issue raised by the EU," said Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), a body affiliated with the trade ministry.

The FIEO and the trade ministry have asked Brussels to lift the ban, Sahai said.

Although Europe is not a major market for Indian mangoes, any ban typically weighs on prices, hitting farmers' incomes.

Local prices have fallen about 15 percent in the past few days, said Sahai.

The Middle East buys 80 percent of mango exports from India, the world's biggest producer of the fruit, accounting for about half of global output.

Other major producers include China, Thailand, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria and Egypt.

Asia, excluding India, accounts for more than a third of world mango output. (Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Tom Hogue)