Mangoes from India have been exported to Australia for the first time, with the inaugural consignment of around 400 trays landing in Sydney this week.
Revised protocols have opened the door for Indian imports, with fruit allowed into Australia as long as it has been treated with irradiation prior to export.
Perfection Fresh Australia (PFA) took delivery of the mangoes, all of which were the Kesar variety.
“The first consignment, I’ve got to say, was a little disappointing,” PFA chief executive Michael Simonetta said.
“The fruit had a little bit of blemish on the skin and wasn’t as evenly coloured as we expected it to be, so we’re in the process now of getting it to colour more evenly and then offer it for sale following that.
“The eating quality is quite nice. It’s pleasant to eat.
“The feedback has been okay and the upside for me as a consumer is that it tastes better than the Mexican Keitt [mangoes] that are in the market as well at the moment.”
Mr Simonetta said the mangoes would predominantly end up with independent retailers.
“We have shown them to the major supermarkets, but at the moment the volumes are far too light.
“This is a trial and it’s yet to be concluded, so while I’m a little bit underwhelmed, it’s too early to call.”
High expectations for the Alphonso mango
Mr Simonetta said the next consignment of Kesar mangoes was due to arrive in Perth next week and then imports of Alphonso mangoes would begin soon after.
“The variety I’m really excited about, is in a few week’s time we’ll bring in the Alphonso mango which is known as the king of mango,” he said.
“It’s got a very high profile in India and across the world and I think the whole program of importation of mangoes from India will be judged on the success or otherwise of the Alphonso mango.”
He said it was too early to tell how many tonnes would be exported to Australia this season.
“My hope is that we can bring into the country a good tasting mango, which the Alphonso is, counter-seasonally to supplement the mango lovers’ desire for fruit in the Australian off-season,” he said.
“The trade will be judged fairly and squarely, wholly and solely by the Australian consumer.
“If the consumer tells us they like this mango and there is a need for it then we’ll bring it in, if they tell us otherwise then we’ll follow their lead.”
Speaking to ABC Rural last month, Robert Gray from the Australian Mango Industry Association, said if the Indian mangoes met biosecurity standards they had no problems with the trade.
“Our position is that, as part of the global trade, if we want access to other countries around the world [to export Australian mangoes], then providing the protocol is safe and not bringing in any pests or diseases, then we’re supportive of other countries having access into our market,” he said.