S Africa clears import of mangoes from India: Farm export body

India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world, producing 50 per cent of the global production, with South Africa accounting for 17 per cent of the world's mangoes
Representative Image.
Representative Image.(Photo | Pexels)

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa has granted permission to import different varieties of mangoes from India, an official of India's farm export body said here.

Simmi Unnikrishnan, Assistant General Manager from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) of India, made the announcement at the 'Bharat Mango Utsav 2024' event at the Indian Consulate here last week.

Addressing local traders and the media, she said, "We received market access for mangoes last year and have now flagged off 1.5 metric tonnes of mangoes from Gujarat to India.

Guests at the event were given the opportunity to sample several varieties of Indian mangoes specially brought in for the occasion -- Alfonso, known as the king of mangoes, Totapuri, Rajapuri, Badami, Kesar and Neelam.

India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world, producing 50 per cent of the global production, with South Africa accounting for 17 per cent of the world's mangoes, Unnikrishnan said as she appealed to the traders to assist in importing Indian mangoes and popularising them in South Africa.

"It was difficult getting the permission from the South African government. There was a period where analyses had to be done, as these mangoes come after irradiation treatment," Unnikrishnan shared.

Speaking at the occasion, Consul General Mahesh Kumar said, "A lot of effort has gone into getting this market access, so if we can import it and familiarise people, we will be able to have data from next year about how much we will be able to sell in the South African market."

Kumar said he believed it would be a viable proposition to import Indian mangoes, especially since mangoes would then be available all year round to South Africans, with the growing seasons being the opposite in the hemispheres where India and South Africa are located.

Pranav Khattar, one of South Africa's leading distributors of Indian food products, said he had been asking APEDA to get the required import permission for mangoes every year since he started importing Indian goods in 2012.

"We are very happy that mangoes are now officially allowed. Mango is so famous all over the world, not only in India. Now we will get in touch with the South African government about how much is the duty and VAT so that we can start importing in the next season," he said.

"Like our Indian groceries which go from South Africa to neighbouring states such as Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the mangoes will go there too, and I think there will be a huge demand from wherever there are Indian expat communities," Khattar said.

"We are in a very early stage, and the pricing can only be determined later once we have all the details about freight costs, taxes and related matters," he said.

"But I believe the Indian mangoes will be 100 per cent competitive with the local mangoes if you compare it to the (top of the range) Heidi mangoes here, which is the most expensive grown in South Africa," Khattar said.

India's Kesar and Alfonso mangoes will likely be somewhere in the range of Heidi, but other varieties will be cheaper, he added.

Khattar said mango pulp from India has been available in South Africa for many years now as it was allowed as fruit concentrate.

"Almost every Indian restaurant in South Africa which provides mango juice or mango lassi uses our pulp, which is imported from India," he said.

Unnikrishnan said she would provide potential South African importers details of exporters in India from the mango-producing states so that they could enter into agreements.

Kumar said that if the South African government seeks market access for South African mangoes to India, it would be given the due attention.

"The market access benefits our farmers. Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has promised to double the income of every farmer, so it would be nice for our mango growers to also benefit from this market," Kumar said.

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