India's mango exports get a boost as Australia revises norms

Indian mango exports to Australia may get a boost thanks to a revised protocol that allows exports of produce that meet Australia's biosecurity standards.

While Australia had opened up its market several years ago, the stricter quality norms made exports to that country unviable for Indian producers. Now, under the revised protocols that allow for imports of irradiated produce from India, Indian mangoes, including Alphonso and Kesar, could soon be exported to Australia.

However, these imports will be restricted to outside Australia's mango season, Robert Gray of the Australian Mango Industry Association said.

''Our position is that, as part of the global trade, if we want access to other countries around the world, then providing the protocol is safe and not bringing in any pests or diseases, then were supportive of other countries having access into our market,'' he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

While Mexico, the Philippines and Pakistan have previously exported mangoes to Australia over the years, Gray seemed apprehensive of the volume coming from India.

''While India is a huge mango-growing country, their export business is a bit like ours,'' he said.

India is already exporting mangoes to the US and Gray expects India to target affluent buyers, placing smaller quantities of high-value produce.  '' targeting affluent markets, markets where they can place small quantities of very high-value product,'' Gray said.

Reports quoting Kaushal Khakhar, chief executive of Kay Bee Exports, said all shipments to Australia would be sent by air, and the company would initially focus on exporting the Alphonso and Kesar varieties of mango.

''Alphonso is slightly tricky but handled well it is one of the best varieties in India,'' he said.

''Kesar is the best commercial variety because it has a good price, good flavour, and it handles very well,'' Khakhar said.

India's mango exports are expected to surpass last year's level and touch 50,000 tonne mark in the ongoing fiscal, buoyed by strong demand and supply of export quality fruit, according to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority ( APEDA).