Plans to increase irradiation costs threaten to halt Pakistani mango exports to the US this season, reports www.freshfruitportal.com.
The only USDA-approved irradiation centre for Pakistani mangoes entering US markets – Sadex Corporation, Iowa – said this year it will charge importers per hour rather than by weight to irradiate the fruit.
Sadex said it lost money processing small lots last year, because even though irradiation time was just 30 minutes, it took four hours to process each consignment by the time USDA inspectors had examined the fruit.
The US received its first Pakistani mango imports in 2011 with two shipments of 3-4,000lb, charged at US$1,5000 per 1,000lb, the article said.
Importers claim a new hourly pricing model could make imports prohibitively expensive.
"If the price increases to an exorbitant level then we will not be able to import this year," US importer Mangozz.com owner Jaidev Sharma told the website. "It is istill a test year for Pakistani mangoes. You have to get a few shipments in first before you start shipping in larger quantities."
Multan Progressive Mango Growers Group chief executive Tariq Kahn told www.freshfruitportal.com that his organisation was lobbying the US embassy to speed up the process of accrediting Pakistan's own irradiation centre in Lahore.
"We are working on having our own irradiation facility which would bring down the production costs considerably for exporting to the US," Khan said.