U.K.-Indian Chambers Discuss Mango Ban
In May, Lord de Mauley, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science hosted a round table meeting at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with representatives of mango and vegetable importers and exporters from the UK and India, National Asian Business Association, Confederation of Indian Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, Fresh Produce Consortium, Dr Virendra Paul - Deputy Indian High Commissioner, University of Huddersfield and senior regulators from Defra and Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera).
The discussion focused around the sudden ban on Indian Alphonso mangoes and other items of fresh produce by the European Union on May 26, 2014, effective from May 1, 2014.
Defra discussed the increasing levels of infestation and interventions that took place in 2013 and discussed the requirements from the Indian export supply chain and regulatory authorities for improving phytosanitary certification. It was indicated that the ban was put in place as the EU did not find sufficient improvement in phytosanitary certification and regulatory measures by the end of 2013.
The industry representatives, led by Monica Bhandari of Fruity Fresh (Western) Ltd highlighted the sudden nature of the ban and the impact it has had SME’s in the UK and in India, from the growers and farmers, to exporters and importers and small high street retailers.
Ms Ruchi Chaudhari-Mehra, Director of Ruchi Exports (India), who had specially flown in from Mumbai, presented information regarding the change in procedures by the Indian regulators that have been in place since April 1, 2014 for certification and the routing of the products through APEDA pack houses.
Lord de Mauley confirmed that “the British Government values the bilateral trade with India and is willing to support Indian Regulators and the exporters and importers with technical assistance and collaborations with British regulators. The ability to overturn the ban is with the EU commission and such decision will be taken after the FVO visit to India in September 2014. The intention is to work with all the stakeholders to get the processes right so the ban sanctioned till December 2015 is lifted sooner.”