Indian mangoes arrive in United States

By staff

Washington DC: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns on Tuesday welcomed the first shipments of Indian mangoes arriving through U.S. ports-of-entry, initiating mango trade with the United States.  At a “Mango Celebration� today hosted at the Washington-headquartered U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), just opposite the White House, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns each received from Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen the first gift baskets of ripe Indian mangoes seen in the U.S. Capital in 18 years.

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 An Indian chef, Ramesh Kaundal, from the famous Bombay Club of Washington, DC cut into the first alphonso mango. Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen shared cubes of the golden fruit with the two Bush Administration Cabinet officials credited for enabling access of Indian mangoes to the U.S. market.

 India’s Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath, remarked upon the first consignment leaving India last Friday: “America for too long has denied itself the taste of delicious Indian mangoes.� For Indian mango growers, the American market holds significant promise.

 India is the worldâ€?s largest producer of mangoes – at 12 million metric tons harvested each year – but it accounts for less than 1% of the global mango trade. America’s taste for mangoes is growing – with U.S. demand 99% dependent on imports – mostly from Mexico and South America – at 250,000 metric tons annually, valued at $156 million. By contrast, in 2005-06, India exported 58,000 metric tons of mangoes to neighbors in Asia and to Europe.

 Indian mangoes are the first fruit irradiated at an overseas site and approved for importation into the United States. Irradiation became an approved treatment on all pests for fruits and vegetables entering the United States in 2002. This eliminates the need for fumigation or heat and cold treatment. Indian mangoes are irradiated in India in an Animal Plant Health Inspection Service certified facility.

 This breakthrough of opening mango trade is highly emblematic of a push by both the U.S. and India to deepen two-way trade from $30 billion to $60 billion over the next two years.

 “U.S. willingness to purchase Indian mangoes is another important step towards deeper engagement and more robust U.S.-India trade,� said Ron Somers, President of the U.S.-India Business Council. “As our commercial and strategic partnership deepens, two-way trade will soon reach new levels, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in India and thousands of jobs here at home,� said Somers.

 Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, who grew up in Mumbai was one of those who was thrilled by the news. “It's been one of the things I miss most from India. The Alphonso Mango is just delicious, the best in the world. Americans have been deprived on this delicacy for too long!" He said to South Asians Journalists Association.


The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) is comprised of the top 250 companies investing in India including India’s global companies working to deepen commercial ties between the U.S. and India.

 [Photos: ndia's Ambassador to the U.S. Ronen Sen, US Trade Representative Susan Schwab and  U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns watching Ramesh Kaundal, executive chef of Bombay Club, cutting mangoes at the Commerce Department]