Australia to sell ‘Kesar’ variety of Indian mangoes for first time

Melbourne, For the first time, Australia will sell ‘Kesar’ variety of Indian mangoes with the inaugural consignment of nearly 400 trays landing in Sydney, but marketing firms called it a “little disappointing” as the fruit was a little blemish and not evenly coloured.

The first consignment was received by Perfection Fresh Australia (PFA), Australia’s largest fresh-produce marketing company, after recently revised protocols that allowed Indian mango imports if the fruit was treated with irradiation prior to export.

“The first consignment, I’ve got to say, was a little disappointing,” PFA chief executive Michael Simonetta said, adding “the fruit had a little bit of blemish on the skin and wasn’t as evenly coloured as we expected it to be, so we’re in the process now of getting it to colour more evenly and then offer it for sale following that.”

“The eating quality is quite nice. It’s pleasant to eat. The feedback has been okay and the upside for me as a consumer is that it tastes better than the Mexican Keitt (mangoes) that are in the market as well at the moment,” he said.

Simonetta said the mangoes would predominantly end up with independent retailers.

“We have shown them to the major supermarkets, but at the moment the volumes are far too light. This is a trial and it’s yet to be concluded, so while I’m a little bit underwhelmed, it’s too early to call.”

The next consignment of Kesar mangoes will be sent to Perth next week while imports of Alphonso mangoes would also begin soon.

“The variety I’m really excited about, is in a few week’s time we’ll bring in the Alphonso mango which is known as the king of mango,” he said.

“It’s got a very high profile in India and across the world and I think the whole programme of importation of mangoes from India will be judged on the success or otherwise of the Alphonso mango.”

Simonetta said it was too early to tell how many tonnes would be exported to Australia this season.

“My hope is that we can bring into the country a good tasting mango, which the Alphonso is, counter-seasonally to supplement the mango lovers’ desire for fruit in the Australian off-season,” he said.

“The trade will be judged fairly and squarely, wholly and solely by the Australian consumer. If the consumer tells us they like this mango and there is a need for it then we’ll bring it in, if they tell us otherwise then we’ll follow their lead.”

As quoted by ABC website, Robert Gray of Australian Mango Industry Association, said if the Indian mangoes met biosecurity standards they had no problems with the trade.

“Our position is that, as part of the global trade, if we want access to other countries around the world (to export Australian mangoes), then providing the protocol is safe and not bringing in any pests or diseases, then we’re supportive of other countries having access into our market,” he said.

Indian mango exports are likely to surpass last year’s level and touch 50,000 tonne mark in the ongoing fiscal, buoyed by strong demand and supply of export quality fruit, according to India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

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