Maharashtra sets up panel to probe drop in mango prices

Government resolution says EU ban on Indian mango not the reason

 
By Aparna Pallavi
Last Updated: Monday 17 August 2015

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The Maharashtra government has set up a high-level committee to investigate the abrupt drop in the prices of mango in the state. In a government resolution (GR) issued on May 13, 2014, the Cooperatives, Marketing and Textile Department of Maharashtra has stated that the recent ban by the European Union on Indian mangoes is being touted as the reason for the drop in prices, but in fact exports to EU are too less to flood the Indian market with mangoes.

According to statistics provided by the Agriculture and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA), India produces 15 million tonnes of mangoes in a year. In 2012-13, only 3,890 tonnes were exported to the EU. The EU also accounts for less than 10 per cent of the country’s mango exports, which is about 55,000 tonnes annually, says Sudhanshu, state in-charge of APEDA.

In view of this, the GR states, the state government has set up a five member committee, comprising Deepak Tawre, executive director of Maharashtra State Consumers Federation Ltd in Mumbai; D L Tamale, manager of Maharashtra state Agriculture Marketing Board in Pune; Sunil Borkar, deputy manager of the same board; Vikas Patil, chief executive officer, Maharashtra State Mango and Cashew Board in Dapoli; and Sudhanshu. The committee, the GR states, will be required to submit its report to the state government after an in-depth investigation by May 22, 2014.

Speaking to Down To Earth about the drop in prices, Alphonso mango producer and exporter from Pawas village in Ratnagiri district Anand Desai asserted that the EU ban is the real reason behind the drop in prices. “The prices dropped from Rs 1,500 per parcel (60 mangoes) to Rs 750 in one night following the ban,” he says. “The problem is not the quantity of mangoes being exported to the EU, but the stigma of rejection. Last year Japan had rejected our mangoes, this year it is the EU. Alphonso has become stigmatised, and that has impacted the market.”

Desai says the government is not serious about providing proper facilities to promote export. “For export to Europe, the mangoes have to be irradiated. But there is no irradiation centre in Konkan where the mangoes are produced. The produce has to be taken to Nashik for irradiation and then transported again to the Mumai airport.” This time lag, he says, brings down the quality of the produce. “In Vashi in Mumbai, the Vapour-Heat Treatment facility is located in an area surrounded with filth, which again impacts the quality of fruit transported out of the centre.” He demanded that government provide proper facilities for maintaining quality required for export instead of setting up committees for investigation.


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