Thanks to India Australians can enjoy mangoes all year round. Now Australian producers are eyeing the Indian market to supply Australian grown mangoes back to India.
It was a sweet surprise for Rajat Sharma to find mangoes in winter in December.
“I was travelling to Pune. I saw mangoes at a shop. Lovely and fresh mangoes were available in the market,” Sharma told SBS Hindi.
Mangoes are the national fruit in India, but they're seasonal. But now, mangoes in winter is not an oxymoron in northern hemisphere India any more - they're increasingly being imported from abroad to cater for year-round demand.
Sandeep Khaire, an Indian mango importer from Pune, says a British company is cultivating out of season Indian mangoes in the central African country of Malawi.
“These are planted in Africa because of the hemispheric climate conditions. Their season is October, November and December. There are 18 varieties of mangoes. Therefore it sells easily in India because the local public knows the taste. They know the verities like Alphonso and other Indian mangoes.
"Now, because they are planted in Africa, the timings are different. That is why they come in the winter season,” says Mr Khaire who has been importing mangoes for the past three years.
The different climate conditions create a window of opportunity for Australian mangoes, too.
Robert Gary, president of the Australian Mangoes Industry Association, says Australian mango producers will undoubtedly be interested in the opportunity to supply customers in India.
“At this stage, we don’t have a protocol that allows us to trade Australian mangoes in India. But that certainly is an area that industry is interested in,” he says.
“Australian Mangoes are there, in small quantities though," says Sandeep Khaire.
"They have been imported but not regularly. Not as regularly as Malawi mangoes because these Malawi mangoes are Indian varieties planted in Africa. Therefore the acceptance level is much higher than the Australian mangoes."
But, Australian producers are keen to make their products available in the Indian market.
We see India as a real growth opportunity - Australian Mangoes Industry Association
“We are talking with the Australian government about the process around gaining access to the Indian market. We see India as a real growth opportunity over the next decade or so. We think the varieties we grow over here are very good for eating and would be well accepted by Indian consumers,” Mr Gary says.
Australia has been importing Indian mangoes for over two years. Because of the different climatic conditions, Indian mangoes come in the Australian winter.
There's a huge potential to complement each other’s demand.
“Indian mangoes have not had a negative impact on the Australian market," Robert Gary says.
"The Indian mangoes have come in at a time of the year when there is no Australian production or very little production. And I suppose the reverse would be the same if Australia mangoes were going to India.
"Our production coming from the southern hemisphere would be complimentary to India’s own Mango production.”