the-south-asian.com FEBRUARY 2002
FEBRUARY 2002 Contents
'My Secret of
at Every Alien Door'
Fashion & Jewellery
Page 5 of 5
The South Asian MANGO - The Fruit of Kings & the King of
The South Asian MANGO
- The Fruit of Kings & the King of Fruits
Mangoes - Exports & Problems:
Country Total Production & Total Exported
Total World 24.0 million tons
Mango - Post Harvest Handling :
The import requirements for mangoes into the European Union EU and the US markets are very stringent in terms of the Environmental requirements of where the mango originates. The compliance costs for small and medium farmers or export companies escalate prohibitively.
Post harvest of mangoes in the EU requires maintenance of Eco-labelling and an audit trail of each mango - from farmer to processing unit to exporters. Labs in EU, US, and the South Asian countries need to be matched in terms of Quality Process & Control so that the lab results between the exporting countries and western importing countries match each other.
Post harvest treatments are, in the case of Mexican mango imports into USA, mostly done by hot water treatment of mangoes at packaging sheds. It is recognized by the US Dept. of Agriculture
as 99.9968 % effective against the fruit fly larva . Only in September 2000 did this incidence of fruit fly occur after a period of 11 years . The US DA ‘s Animal & Plant Health Inspection service took action by getting the Mexican Agriculture Department [SAGAR] and AHIS to jointly carry out mango sampling at 200 mangoes per field load and increase this to 400 per field load if a dead fruit fly larva is detected in the first instance and to 600 if a second incidence is detected. Such quality controls need to be implemented by South Asian Mango producers.
Other Quality controls using chemicals [fungicide called Thiabendazole 0.25% ; Benomyl-500ppm or Captan -0.1 % ; sometimes fungicidal wax emulsion combined with anti-transpirants- vapourguard - are used . Irradiation [ 75 krad] may be allowed and varies from country to country. As mentioned, hot water [ 46 -48 degrees Centigrade is very effective ; maleic hydrazide [ 500 ppm] and Bavistin[0.1 %] are effective. Wrapping with plastic films or wax paper may extend shelf life.
Mango Breeding - Intellectual Property Rights- GATT & WTO
Last Mango in South Asia ?
In 1988 according to the website - www.oneworld.org /oneworld.net , a Foreign Embassy in Delhi asked the Agriculture Research Institute of India for a sample of a Mango sapling to be planted in their Delhi embassy compound. The request was studied and refused as it was the sapling of a rare and precious mango variety. This sort of genetic looting has been going on without much coverage in the media, but the situation today has come to the point where poor farmer from countries in Africa, Asia have already lost their Biodiversity and Plant genetic material to the western Multinationals - without any compensation.
Another spectre is haunting the south Asian farmer. That of losing all their native plant and seed varieties [south Asian regions’ seed & plant genetic pool] to the breeding labs of the Western "Multinational Corporations" countries who then label their varieties with the original south Asian names. A very real example of this happened recently in September 2001 when a Texas based company [the same one that had coined the name "Texmati"] filed for a US Patent for their rice breed and wanted to call it "Basmati". Monsanto is another US Company against whom protests have been carried out by farmers in Kerala for doing the same sort of thing to the seed bank . Monsanto is famous for selling their "Terminator" seed variety which produces only once. The second time around the farmer has to buy more from Monsanto. The terminator seed cannot produce any new plants if sown - it has no fertile seeds at all.
Seed giants like Cargill, Union Carbide, Upjohn and Sandoz take the global seed business very seriously. Syntega , DuPont, Monsanto , Dow, and Aventis have built strategic monopolies in seed , agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and related markets. They account for two-thirds of global pesticide market, a quarter of the commercial seed market and almost 100 percent of the tarnsgenic seed market [see www.publiceyeondavos.ch article by Rafael.V. Mariano]. These 5 Gene Giants hold more than 50% all plant biotechnology patents.
A seed variety is upgraded by their labs as being high yielding using fertilizer and pesticides and sold back to the third world farmers. This is also called "value-addition".
Intellectual property rights will have to be paid by South Asian farmers for each plant that grows from such seeds. This process is part of Globalization under the WTO and GATT agreements . Western countries continue to produce agricultural surpluses which are then exported to poorer countries at low prices . This spells the death of the peasants and farming communities in south Asia.
Holland has four times as many plant strains as India. India is left with less than one-fifth of its 10,000 varieties of’ wheat and just half of its 60,000 varieties of rice. According to the UN FAO one US company - United Brands – maintains almost two-thirds of the world’s potential breeding stock of bananas.
Moreover, intense farming techniques involving Western-produced herbicides, chemical fertilizers and high-yielding seed varieties are leaving behind a wasteland of genetic erosion. Hundreds of wild strains, which had stood the test of natural selection for the past 10,000 years, are fast becoming extinct. Only recently after sleeping on it for ten years, India has passed a Bio-Diversity Bill. See the site www.Oneworld.net for more information.
In succumbing to a bias based on overall qualities of flavour, sweetness, sinus, fibre and aroma , I would rate the mango varieties being imported into USA from Mexico as not edible even by a poor person in South Asia, who has been exposed to high quality mangoes as a child.
The European Union and the Middle Eastern countries have tasted the mango from South Asia and pronounced its verdict by giving it shelf space on its high streets and elite Stores [Harrods in Knightsbridge stocks Pakistani Sindhri and Indian Alfonso mango varieties] in London and the fruit shops in Jeddah, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates. The south Asian Mango arrival into the USA is awaited with great expectations.
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