EU set to lift ban on Indian mangoes, other vegetables

In news that will bring cheers to mango farmers but perhaps leave Indian consumers in gloom, the European Union is likely to lift the ban on import of mangoes and other vegetables from India this month.

In April, the 28-member European Union had temporarily banned the import of Alphonso mangoes and four other vegetables from India from 1 May – the peak season for the famous Alfonso (See: UK says working to end ban on Indian mangoes).

''Recently, the EU's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) team visited here to inspect our pack houses and other facilities; I hope they will soon lift the ban on import of mangoes and other vegetables,'' Export Inspection Council of India director S K Saxena told PTI.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a CII National Food Safety and Quality Summit in New Delhi.

Sources in APEDA confirmed that EU's team has visited India and added that EU's team also held detailed talks with officials of National Plant Protection Authority (NPPA) and Agriculture APEDA, and so far the talks have been positive.

Sources in APEDA added, ''The team was satisfied with our facilities and has already filed a report which will be deliberated with member countries.''

Earlier, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman had also said that the Food and Veterinary Office of European Commission had agreed to send an audit team to verify improvement in plant health controls and certification system with regard to fruits and vegetables.

India has taken several measures, including enhancement of capacity and numbers of inspecting staff and improvement in infrastructure, implementation of a standard operating procedure to guarantee safe exports.

In addition to that, the country has also routed all export consignments of perishables to EU through approved pack houses from 1 April to enable better inspection and certification.

India has not only informed the EU regarding implementation of these control systems but also formally conveyed its disagreement on the temporary restriction imposed by the EU, Sitharaman had said.

In 2013-14, India exported mangoes worth Rs50.22 crore (3,933 tonnes) as against Rs35.59 lakh (3,890 tonnes) in 2012-13.