NEW DELHI: The European Union (EU) has lifted the ban on import of Indian mangoes that it had imposed in April last year, Parliament was informed today.
"The EU has notified lifting of the ban on mango through commission implementing number... of February 12, 2015," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
In April last year, the 28-member European Union had temporarily banned import of Alphonso mangoes. It also banned import of four vegetables -- taro, bitter gourd, snake gourd and eggplant -- from India from May 1, 2014.
Export of Indian mangoes to the EU during 2012 and 2013 were valued at USD 6.73 million and USD 10.09 million, respectively.
"Ban on import of vegetables from India has not been notified," she said.
"Standard operating procedure has been developed by the government for pest-free export of fresh vegetables to the EU, wherein the vegetables are processed in pack houses approved by Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), under the supervision of plant quarantine before export to the EU, she added.
In a separate question on basmati rice exports, the Minister said that exports of the commodity has declined by 3 per cent year-on-year to USD 3.37 billion during April-December 2014-15.
The decline in quantity terms is about 6 per cent. India exported 25.72 lakh tonnes of basmati rice during the period as against 27.41 lakh tonnes. Sluggish demand from Iran is one of the main reason for dip in exports.
"In Iran, import of rice is monitored through a system of issue of import permits. Due to excessive carry-over stocks from imports in the previous year and domestic production in the current year, Iran has put a temporary ban on issue of permits for import of rice from all origins with effect from October 19, 2014," she added.
The other major export destinations for basmati rice include Saudi Arab, Iraq, UAE, Yemen, USA, UK, Jordan and Oman.
Replying to a separate question on tea, the Minister said tea exports too have declined in value and volume terms during January-November 2014 as compared to the corresponding period a year ago.
She said that the decline in exports is "attributable to the loss of Assam Orthodox tea production to the tune of almost 20 million kg during May-July 2014 caused by delayed rains, lower demand in high value markets such as the US, Iran
and Russia and lower prices of tea from Africa at USD 2 per kg". India ranks second in world production of tea and fourth in exports.