New Delhi, May 17: Indian mango exports to the US, Australia and Japan have been hit by the fruit fly scare.
Sources said these countries have clamped down on mangoes coming from India as fruit flies were found in some consignments. The commerce ministry is reported to have taken up the issue with the concerned authorities in these countries in order to find a way out.
Some headway has been made with Japan and a special vapour heat treatment plant has been put in place to rid the consignments of any fruit flies that may be present.
However, the US and Australian authorities are reported to be maintaining a tough stance on the issue. The US in particular had emerged as an important market consuming as much as 730 tonnes of Indian mangoes each year.
The UK and the Netherlands are other western countries which are important destinations for Indian mangoes. Official statistics show there has been a three-fold leap in Indian mango exports to the Netherlands from 300 tonnes in 2001-02 to over 1,000 tonnes in 2002-03.
Bangladesh and Persian Gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and UAE are the important markets closer home for Indian mangoes. The total value of Indian mango exports is around Rs 80 crore every year.
Since the use of excessive pesticides also leads to problems of rejection in food commodities they have to be used very carefully even at the growth stage. When the products are ready there is even less scope for using pesticides as even a minor trace of these chemicals would lead to rejection. As a result, there is a possibility of fruit flies making their way into some consignments. Vapour heat treatment has thus been found to be the ideal solution at the final stage.