No visa for AP mangoes to enter US!

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India produces almost 1000 varieties of mangoes which roughly accounts for half of the world’s mangoes but of them only 30 varieties are used commercially, and this includes Alphonso, Kesar, Langar and Chausa.

India produces almost 1000 varieties of mangoes which roughly accounts for half of the world's mangoes but of them only 30 varieties are used commercially, and this includes Alphonso, Kesar, Langar and Chausa.

Of these varieties, only Alphonso so far has great export potential. Thanks to the efforts made by the union government during the first trade policy meeting that ended on Tuesday, the US has agreed to ease business rules for export of Langda variety of Uttar Pradesh and pomegranates from India.

There is clear deficit of trust among most of the countries regarding the quality of Indian mangoes, though Andhra Pradesh accounts for bulk production of mangoes next only to Uttar Pradesh.

However, India's mango exports are still low in absolute numbers. The exports in 2019-20 was 46,789.6 tonnes in 2019-20, according to data from Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). This is still small compared with India's total output and the total fruit export market of the world.

India in general so far had failed to get VISA for Indian mangoes to enter US. Now there has been some relaxation but the juicy mangoes of Andhra Pradesh are still a big 'NO'. One of the major issues that holds back is large scale use of pesticides. While experts recommend a maximum spray of thrice. But the pesticides and chemicals are about seven times the level recommended by experts. Andhra Pradesh also does not have irradiation centre.

The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has submitted a proposal to Union Government sometime back seeking permission for 'radiation processing' of fruits and vegetables on a generic basis. Currently only mangoes can be treated by radiation for quarantine purposes.

Another issue is the distance factor. According to a report by the National Horticulture Board, Mexico, Haiti and Brazil account for most North America's imports. India and Pakistan are the predominant suppliers to West Asia.

According to APEDA's website, Agri Export Zones have been established in almost all mango growing areas and packhouses on modern lines have been provided in all mango exporting regions like Maharashtra, Gujrat and Uttar Pradesh but no such region has been set up in Andhra Pradesh nor did any government make efforts in that direction. It also does not have a mango export facility centre like in case of Ratnagiri from where Alphonso and Kesar mango farmers are trained in global standards.

"I want my fellow Americans to eat these mangoes," former US president George Bush had said on his visit to the Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University in Hyderabad in 2006. But 15 years down the lane we are not able to do anything to get US visa for AP mangoes like Banginapally.

We only export to Middle East and Singapore mostly. Its time the rulers focus on such issues rather than narrow political issues and hurling invectives at each other.

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