KOLKATA, May 28 (PTI): Mango exports from West Bengal are expected to begin from early June with shipments to Middle East countries, an official said on Sunday. There have also been inquiries for export orders from Europe, which are currently being finalised, the official said.
“Exports are expected to commence from early June, as we are finalising the last shipments from some orchards. Orders have already been received from the Middle East,” said Ujjal Saha, president of the Malda Mango Association, in an interview with PTI.
Saha also mentioned that despite the economic challenges faced by Europe, there is a growing interest in Bengal mangoes, and exporters are actively engaging in negotiations.
In the previous year, Malda exported 10 metric tonne of mangoes to Europe and 24 metric tonne to Middle East countries.
Officials from both the Union and State governments are working collaboratively to promote mango exports from West Bengal, as stated by the horticulture department.
Deputy Director of the District Horticulture Department, Samanta Layek, said that exports from the district are expected to commence in the first week of June.
Meanwhile, mango growers in the district have raised concerns of the absence of a proper laboratory for fruit certification, which has hindered the export of Malda mangoes to other countries in recent years.
The presence of pesticides in the fruit, exceeding the permitted levels, is a major headwind for export of Bengal mangoes to the Middle East and European countries and requires strict certifications.
According to records, Malda district produced 3.7 lakh metric tonne of mangoes last year, while the entire state produced approximately 9 lakh metric tonne.
Murshidabad, another major mango-producing district, also contributes significantly to mango exports. There are 5-7 more districts involved in mango cultivation.
This year, the mango crop in Malda is expected to exceed 4 lakh metric tonne due to favourable seasonal conditions, according to estimates.
The state government had taken steps last year to boost production by distributing 13 lakh mango saplings, which have yielded positive results.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) has partnered with the West Bengal government’s horticulture and food processing department to facilitate the export of 75 varieties of mangoes from Malda and Murshidabad districts.
Last year, through Apeda, 34 varieties of mangoes from Malda and Murshidabad were exported to European countries, including the Middle East, an official said.
Among the popular varieties are Fazli, Himsagar, and Lakshmanabhog, which have already obtained GI tags.
Other sought-after varieties include Gopalbhog, Rakhalbhog, Kishanbhog, Amritbhog, Dilkush, Langra, Altapeti, Brindabni, Ashwina, Amrapali, Mallika, Brindabni Ashwina, Totapuri, Madhuchushki, Mohan Thakur, Ranipsand, Golia, Dalbhanga, and Mohanbhog.