The 28-member European Union has temporarily banned import of Alphonso mangoes, the king of fruits, and four vegetables from India as of May 1, sparking protests from the Indian community, lawmakers and traders.
The recent decision by the groupingˈs Standing Committee on Plant Health came after 207 consignments of fruits and vegetables from India imported into the EU in 2013 were found to be contaminated by pests such as fruit flies and other quarantine pests, pti reported.
The temporary ban, proposed by the European Commission, includes mangoes, eggplant, taro plant, bitter gourd and snake gourd, and prohibits the import to tackle the ˈsignificant shortcomings in the phytosanitary certification system of such products exported to the EUˈ.
Though the prohibited commodities represent less than 5 per cent of the total fresh fruits and vegetables imported into the EU from India, the potential introduction of new pests could pose a threat to EU agriculture and production, the committee noted.
The UK imports nearly 16 million mangoes from India and the market for the fruit worth nearly 6 million pounds a year.
A revision of the ban will take place before December 31, 2015.
Businesses claimed they will lose hundreds of thousands of pounds due to the ban.
Wholesalers and retailers in Indian-dominated regions of the UK have opposed the ban, which comes into effect on May 1, saying it will hit them hard.
India is the biggest producer of mangoes with nearly 40% of worldˈs production. India produces more than 1,000 varieties of mango. But none of them are as desirable as the Alphonso.
Alphonso is a seasonal mango cultivar that is considered as one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. It is also one of the most expensive kind of mango and is grown mainly in western India. It is a seasonal fruit with each mango weighing between 150g and 300g.