Agri Business

Mango shipments turn sour on high price, freight costs

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on May 22, 2015

Margins shrink as reduced availability of export-quality fruit push up prices

Over the past four months, three countries have opened their doors to Indian mangoes, but the higher price and increase in freight costs are proving to be hurdles for exporters. Also, the lack of availability of ‘export-quality’ fruit, due to the recent unseasonal rains, is compounding their woes.

Trade sources expect this could lead to a fall in mango exports this year close to 30 per cent against 41,200 tonnes exports in 2013-14.

“The availability of mangoes is a major challenge as unseasonal rains has impacted the quality. The Alphonso season is nearing its end, but we haven’t done any export so far, despite the EU lifting the ban on Indian mangoes,” says Rajendra Jagtap, a mango exporter from Mumbai.

Faced with stiff competition from their Pakistani counterparts, the exporters in India have raised concerns about the lack of proper storage facilities and pack-houses at key mango growing regions.

“We have learnt that Pakistan is not only providing additional subsidy on freight for mango shipments, but it has also created a separate department for mango exports, which ensures awareness about the quality in mango production. When countries are opening up for Indian mangoes, we should not miss this opportunity because of lack of good quality fruit,” said Bhavesh Jotangia, partner at M&J Enterprise, Vashi, Mumbai. Since February this year, Japan, Mauritius and Switzerland have allowed imports of Indian mangoes with appropriate quality compliance. But the excitement among traders is absent because of higher prices and freight costs.

After procuring the mango from farmers at around ₹350-450 per box (of 12 pieces) – close to double that of last year’s ₹250 – the exporters incur additional costs on mandatory processing to qualify for exports.

Trade sources said the vapour heat treatment, which is mandatory for EU, costs anywhere between ₹40-50 per box, while packaging adds another ₹50 plus ₹380-400 towards freight. The combined cost works out to be anywhere around ₹890 per box (or $14-15). Gamma Radiation treatment, which is mandatory for exports to US, costs around ₹60,000 for a batch of about 400 boxes.

“After incurring such high costs, we get only a difference of couple of dollars from exports. World market is about $17-18 per box. So increase in cost at any level of supply chain makes it unviable to export,” said Batuksinh Jadeja, an exporter of Kesar mango from Mau village in Kutch.

The Mango Grower Association of India has estimated the overall mango exports from India at around 25,000-30,000 tonnes. The main destinations are UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK, Kuwait, Qatar, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Published on May 22, 2015
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