The Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board aims to process nearly 2,000 tonnes of mangoes at its Vashi factory for export between April and July this year.
Bhaskar Patil, DGM, Vapor Heat Treatment and Irradiation Facility Center (CHT and IFC), said the export season is looking bullish, especially for the United States.
Located near the Agricultural Commodities Marketing Committee (APMC), MSAMB’s Vashi export facility has the necessary infrastructure for exporters to send their fruits to overseas destinations. Countries like the United States and Australia require irradiation and hot water treatment before fruit is exported to them, while Japan and South Korea require the export shipment to be treated steamed before it leaves the country of origin. Vashi center has the three processing facilities for the convenience of exporters.
After a two-year hiatus, Indian exporters are gearing up for a good export season, thanks to the easing of all Covid-19 related restrictions. Meanwhile, the American inspector arrived after two years, which will allow the fruit to be flown to the United States. Dr. Kathryn Fielder, Foreign Programs Specialist, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), arrived on April 7 and will remain in the country to oversee the process until June 13. Speaking to The Indian Express, she said that as per the standards, she is expected to carry out random checks on consignments to mainly look for fruit fly and fruit pit weevil. “If a submission reports either of these two pests, it is rejected,” she said. Dr Fielder said as of Friday she had not found any stone weevils, but one shipment contained the fruit fly, leading to it being rejected.
Indian mangoes, she mentioned, are not allowed in the island resort of Hawaii for fear of contamination with local flora. The program is organized within the framework of mutual cooperation between the two countries. Patil and other council officers also said that starting next year, the US government will allow inspectors from the National Plant Protection Office (NPPO) to oversee the process, which would increase the window export. Countries like South Korea and Japan have already allowed the NPPO to oversee the treatment process and have stopped sending their inspectors to India.
Patil said that to date, 100 tons of mangoes have been processed in the hot water and irradiation center for the United States, while 10 tons have been exported to Australia. Similarly, 40 tonnes were processed for the European Union at the hot water treatment facility and 12 tonnes were processed for Japan at the thermal steam treatment facility. In total, nearly 250 tons of fruit have been processed to date for different countries.
The facility, which is now operating at full capacity, is expected to process 2,000 tons of fruit for export. More than 1,000 tons will be destined for the United States while the rest will be sent to other countries. The center is expected to earn Rs 145 crore in fees, of which Rs 5 crore would be MSAMB’s earnings in fees.