Mangoes may get cheaper in India as UK house plans debate on import ban

02 May 2014

The ban imposed by the European Union on India's much-loved alphonso or 'hafoos' mangoes earlier this week will figure in a debate in Britain's House of Commons next week, amidst widespread criticism from exporters and consumers.

Alphonso mangoThe news may be music to the ears of middle-class Indians who have long found the 'king of fruits' out of their reach, largely because the best of the crop is exported to Arabian Gulf nations and to a lesser extent the EU. But expatriate Indians obviously find the ruling by the 28-nation EU irksome.

"The Speaker of the House of Commons has granted a parliamentary debate on the EU ban on the importation of Indian Alphonso mangoes. It will take place on Thursday 8 May at approximately 6 pm," said leading Labour MP Keith Vaz of Indian origin, who called for the debate.

"I am delighted Speaker has granted us a debate at such an early stage of this ban," he said.

The "temporary ban" came after authorities in Brussels found consignments infested with fruit flies that they fear could damage European salad crops. It will remain effective until December 2015, which means that this year's Indian crop will miss European markets.

"Today (1 May) is the first day of the mango ban. Each day is costing UK retailers millions of pounds and is putting at risk the special relationship between Britain and India. I hope that the government can act quickly on this matter to end this crisis," Vaz said.

The UK imports around 6.3-million worth of Indian mangoes in a British mango market worth 68 million a year.

The ban has also been imposed on aubergines, two types of squash, and a type of leaf used in Indian cooking.

Non-European food pests were found in 207 shipments of fruit and vegetables from India in 2013.

Indian mango exporters said they have put checks in place and have approached the authorities in Brussels to try to get the ban lifted, the report added.

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