Indian mango growers keen to resume exports to US after 2-year break

Indian mango growers are excited to start exporting to the US after a 2-year supply disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Their mangoes have gone through fruit set and are reaching maturity with a harvest in just a few weeks. Although there is good demand from end consumers in the United States with many inquiries from importers, high airfreight rates are worrying Indian producers who hope they will be lower when they will start harvesting in March.

Kaushal Khakhar, CEO of Kay Bee Exports, which exports the premium Alphonso variety of mangoes, hopes to be able to close in on previous export volumes. They ship to over 14 US cities, with New York and San Francisco being some of the biggest recipients.

“There is a lot of latent demand from end consumers in the United States. Since last year, we have received many requests from importers. New York and San Francisco have the highest concentration of ethnic Indian population. It is very easy to send our mangoes to them because they understand why there is a premium to be paid. We also target retail and a broader US consumer base. »

“Indian mangoes are exporting around 1,400 tons to the United States in a 2-month window by air. This is a small volume, as it is a premium specialty mango with high prices. We expect that the volume will only come back if air cargo returns to normal. Currently it is double the normal rate. For this reason, I am not sure that we will reach the same export levels. However, if the flights between the two countries are beginning to normalize, we can expect air freight rates to begin to gradually decline.

In a previous FreshPlaza article, it was noted that the US and Indian governments could not agree on an interim inspection process during the Covid-19 pandemic, thus halting exports during this 2-year period. . In the meantime, the two governments have agreed on a “transfer of supervision” program with a one-year transition period. The transition period will use the preclearance protocol as in the past. After that, India will be allowed to ship fruits by irradiating mangoes with just Indian phytosanitary inspection. “So there will be no pre-clearance and there will be an inspection after arrival in the United States. We know that Australia ships to the United States, but in the summer. We have an empty market in the United States when it comes to specialty mangoes,” says Khakhar.

Irradiation is a quarantine treatment that Khakhar says is increasingly being used around the world because it is safe for consumers and gentle on fruits as well. The USDA has approved three irradiation plants in India – Nashik, Mumbai and Bangalore. These facilities offer Indian producers a slight competitive advantage over neighboring Pakistan, which must irradiate upon arrival in the United States, which carries its own risks.

On the production side, Khakhar says the growing conditions are ideal with most of their orchards located on the west coast of the Indian Sea where they get good flavors. “The growing conditions are positive, the mangoes are growing and looking good overall. We hope to have good harvests from March. The fruit is now set. Usually in February and March, the weather is clear. We don’t expect any major changes.

India is known for its heavy monsoon rains. “Fortunately for us, fruit production is spread over a wide geographical area, with unseasonal rains affecting only a few areas. This allows other regions to continue production and harvesting,” says Khakhar.

For more information:
Kaushal Khakhar
Kay Bee Exports
Tel: +91 2241 57 8900
Email: [email protected]