The Indian diaspora is celebrating the Alphonso mango ban lift, clearing the way for them to return to their much loved customers in Europe, especially Britain.
Indian mango shipments to the EU were suspended in May after fruit flies were found in consignments. But an European Commission committee voted to lift the ban on Tuesday.
However, other foodstuffs such as aubergines, bitter gourds, snake gourds and patra leaves - remain suspended subject to sustained improvements in plant pest control.
After the unanimous vote, the European Commission said there had been "significant improvements" in India's mango export system. The UK government previously said it was working towards the ban being lifted and was one of the member states that participated in the vote to lift the ban.
The Minister for the Natural Environment, Lord de Mauley said, "We have been working closely with our Indian and European counterparts to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and I am pleased that trade in mangoes will resume.
"Today's decision demonstrates the marked improvements India has made to its export system and it is important that these standards are maintained so that trade can continue and UK plant health remains protected.
Imports will start again in about a month's time, once new EU legislation has been formally adopted and published by the European Commission.
An overjoyed Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, who had promised the Brit-Indians of doing the most he can to help lift this ban said:“I am delighted that the Commission and all EU member states who voted in favour have acted to end a ban which has caused so many problems for businesses in the UK and India.
Many people have been very supportive of the campaign, and my thanks go to the team from Fruity Fresh (Western) Ltd for working so hard on this issue for many months. The traders of Leicester must also be thanked for their unwavering support, and I am sure they will be delighted the campaign has come to fruition.
Prime Minister Cameron was also very helpful, and I am pleased I can now keep my promise to deliver another basket of Alphonso mangoes to No. 10.”
The Prime Minister’s UK-India Diaspora Champion and Exchequer to the Treasury, Priti Patel MP, welcoming the ban lift said, “The ban on mangoes from India has been devastating for many Indian businesses in the UK and growers in India. It has also deprived the Indian Diaspora and the rest of the UK of being able to enjoy great tasting mangos. I have been working closely with colleagues in the Government to secure the lifting of the ban and today’s news is welcome. However, we all now need to get behind Alphonso mangoes to ensure that they once again have the demand needed to support growers and businesses trading with them.”
Seema Malhotra MP, commenting on the lifting of the EU ban on importing alphonso mangoes, said: “From the beginning Labour MPs campaigned hard to lift the ban which was affecting small businesses in our constituencies, and we are delighted that the government and the EU have listened to us at last. I pay tribute to the campaigners and businesses who worked so hard with politicians to address concerns that were raised and which led to the ban.
“We need to now work to end other damaging import bans affecting companies in the UK.
“Now everyone in Britain can enjoy delicious Indian mangoes once again.”The Prime Minister said:“I welcome today’s announcement by the European Union to lift their import ban of mangoes from India. Not only is this good news for trade between the UK and India it’s also good news for the many consumers and hard-working small businesses in the UK who were affected. I am delighted the British Government was able to play its part in helping to get the ban lifted.” The British High Commissioner to India, Sir James Bevan said: “The British Government worked hard to have the ban lifted. This includes sending an expert to provide technical training, prior to the EU inspection in September. This is great news for the UK-India and EU-India trade relationship and especially for Indian exporters and UK consumers. We are pleased to have played an important role in bringing the ban to an end.”