The European Union has agreed to lift a seven-month-old import ban on mangoes from India, the world’s biggest producer of the tropical fruit, after an audit by the 28-nation bloc showed significant quality improvements.
The EU blocked shipments of Alphonso mangoes, the premium, pulpy variety, from May 2014 until December 2015 after authorities found consignments infested with fruit flies.
But in its September audit, EU’s Food and Veterinary Office found "significant improvements" in quality. India assured the EU it would put in place measures to ensure cargoes are free from pests, the European Commission said in a statement.
Britain, which worked with India to help New Delhi meet the EU’s import norms, welcomed the move. "The EU ban was due to remain until December 2015 but today’s vote shows that the hard work of the Indian authorities has paid off," Britain’s Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said in a statement.
Although Europe is not a major market for Indian mangoes, any ban typically weighs on prices, hitting farmers’ incomes. The Middle East buys 80 percent of mango exports from India, which accounts for about half of global output.
Other major producers include China, Thailand, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria and Egypt.