India is one of the largest exporters of fresh mangoes in the world. Last year it shipped more than 21,000 tonnes of fresh mangoes worth Rs 272 crore. Yet, the juicy US market has been out of bounds. Export of Indian mangoes had been restricted by the US since 2020 as the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors were unable to visit India for inspections of the processing facilities due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Now, mango exports to the US have resumed with the first consignment reaching its shores on April 11. 

The major export of Alphonso to the US has started from Lasalgaon’s irradiation plant and the first consignment of three tonnes was dispatched last week. About 800 tonnes of mango is likely to be exported from the Lasalgaon centre to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Jersey, California and New York this season. 

Alphonso mangoes from the Konkan region of Maharashtra have geographical indication (GI) tag for their unique taste, aroma, and colour. While horticulture scientists believe that the Portuguese brought the Alphonso to Konkan, researchers and farmers in the region have a different take. They insist that it is a local product and the Portuguese took it to the world market. Today, Alphonso is pivotal to Konkan’s regional economy. 

Sweet hopes  

In 2020 before the exports stopped, India send more than 1000 tonnes of mangoes to the US valued at $4.35 million. Exporters are confident of topping that figure this year. “ In the last few years, the demand for Alphonso in the the world market, especially the US has been on the rise before Covid-19 put the brakes. This season exports to the US has resumed and we hope there is no further hurdle” says Ramesh Vichare, a mango grower from Raigad in the Konkan region.