The first consignment of Pakistani mangoes has arrived in the US after several years of negotiations between the two countries.
In a media release the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) secretary Tom Vilsack stated the two countries had worked closely to open the US market to Pakistani mango growers and to provide additional choices to US consumers.
According to the media release, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the importation of commercial shipments of fresh mangoes from Pakistan in August 2010.
The import protocol requires mangoes are treated with a specified dose of irradiation at an APHIS-certified facility. Irradiation treatment may be applied prior to or upon arrival into the United States. In addition, each shipment must be accompanied by a certificate issued by the national plant protection organisation of Pakistan with additional declarations certifying the consignment was inspected and found free of the causal agent of mango bacterial black spot.
“Irradiation treatment allows the USDA to facilitate the safe importation of mangoes from Pakistan while protecting US agriculture from harmful pests and diseases,” said Mr Vilsack.
The Chicago Tribune reported that while the mangoes would not be in stores for several weeks there was considerable excitement about the product amongst the Pakistani community in the US.
“We have been waiting for this for the past 20 years for Pakistani mangoes to come here,” Chicago resident Samina Khattak told the newspaper. “We have been eating the Mexican and the Indian mangoes, but they are not the same.”
Swetal Patel of Raja Foods, which imported the first consignments of Indian Alphoso mangoes in 2007, told the newspaper the Chaunsa mango would likely only appeal to a niche market. “They cost so much to ship that the profit margins are very small,” he said. “But we will carry them as a service to the community. People want the taste of the mangoes they had growing up. That’s why we carry the Alphonsos, which can be great but then another box can be bad. I think the irradiation causes some issues.”