Sunday

25th Feb 2018

EU ban on 'king of mangoes' causes stir in India

  • The Alphonso mango - at the centre of an unlikely political storm. (Photo: Renée Suen 孫詩敏)

A health and safety measure quietly imposed by EU officials to protect the bloc's crops is to deprive Europeans of access to India's "king of mangoes".

The EU's 18 month mango ban, which began on 1 May and will last until December 2015 also includes aubergines, two types of squash, and the taro leaf which is widely used in Indian cooking.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It was imposed in March after non-European food pests including fruit flies were found in 207 shipments of fruit and vegetables in 2013, which EU agriculture ministers fear could contaminate crops.

The European Commission said that, although the ban will affect less than 5 percent of the total fresh fruits and vegetables imported into the EU from India, there were "significant shortcomings" in the certification systems that prevent contaminated goods from being exported.

Last Friday (2 May) India, the world's largest mango exporter, which sells up to 70,000 tonnes of the fruit globally, threatened to take the EU to the World Trade Organisation over its ban.

Alphonso mangoes, widely regarded as so-called "king of mangoes", which are particularly popular in the UK, had just begun their ten week season as the ban came into force.

On Wednesday (8 May) UK prime minister David Cameron told national MPs that he would discuss plans to overturn the ban when he has his official phone call with India's incoming prime minister following next week's general election.

As a result of the ban, the price of Alphonso mangoes, which are usually priced out of the reach of millions of Indians, has plummeted by nearly 50 percent.

“Those jittery Europeans have taken fright at some fruit flies in our mango exports, flies which they fear will wreak havoc on their tomatoes and cucumbers,” the Times of India said in an editorial earlier this week. “Imagine sacrificing the king of fruits for salad!”

But the ban will cost India millions in lost exports, and with India in the full swing of a month long election campaign, it has also become a party political issue.

A paper by the Public Policy Research Centre (PPRC), a think tank affiliated to the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently part of India's main opposition party, and whose leader Narendra Modi is likely to become the country's next Prime Minister, blamed the government for the ban.

"The research paper has found that the EU had sent a warning to the Indian government since 2010 on the unsatisfactory phytosanitary conditions. The EU guidelines are quite clear but the agriculture and commerce ministries sat pretty," said Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, director of PPRC.

He added that the government had failed to include discussions on the export of mangoes during ongoing negotiations with the EU to agree a free trade agreement.

EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'

The 'Brussels bubble' ideas for transnational electoral lists was put on ice at the summit, while Jean-Claude Juncker's idea for an EU 'super president' was also rejected. The 'Spitzenkandidat' proposal backed by the European parliament also suffered a rebuff.

Agenda

Election fever picks up This WEEK

Italian general elections, a German coalition in the balance, and the European parliament fighting to get a voice in nominating an EU commission president. This and much more in a week packed with intrigue.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table