By Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar–Put this down to connectivity. After Bangladesh, Odisha’s mangoes are soon expected to find a market in Southeast Asia — thanks to a new flight from Biju Patnaik International Airport here.

Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia started its first international flight from the city airport to Kuala Lumpur on April 26 this year — and that has prompted the state government to explore the possibility of mango exports to Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries.

“We are preparing a feasibility study to export mangoes to Southeast Asia. The Horticulture Department has already approached the Odisha Agricultural Marketing Board (OAMB) and other stakeholders, including some e-marketing agencies,” Sankarsan Rout, Assistant Director, Horticulture, told IANS.

He said they would help farmers’ cooperatives to sell their products to other parts of the country as well as overseas.

“The mangoes of Odisha meet all quality parameters for exports. What we need to do is to tap the market. The government is in talks with various stakeholders for exporting the fruit,” Barada Prasanna Choudhury, marketing consultant to OAMB, told IANS.

To facilitate the global and domestic trading of mangoes, the Horticulture Department has set up Dhenkanal Fruits & Vegetables Marketing Co. Ltd. with processing and packaging facilities.

The state government is also likely to rope in online trading platform NCDEX E-Marketing Ltd. (NEML) for marketing the mangoes, sources said.

On the home front, north India and Mumbai have long been a destination for Odisha’s mangoes.

Odisha produces nearly 800,000 tonnes of mangoes every year — making it the sixth-largest mango-growing state in India, which accounts for over 60 per cent of global production.

Of the mangoes produced in Odisha, high-end varieties like Amrapalli, Dussehri, Mallika, Keshari and Langada account for some 40 per cent.

Dhenkanal, Angul, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Boudh are the districts where a bulk of the mangoes are grown. The varieties that dominate the Indian market are Baiganpalli, Dussehri, Amrapalli, Kesari Totapuri, Latsundari, Mallika, Subarnarekha, Himasagar, Neelum and Chausa.

Mangoes from India are popular in the Middle East, the Far East, the United States and European countries.

The export volumes are expected to rise as new countires like South Korea and Iran have allowed the import of Indian mangoes.

According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India’s mango exports are likely to surpass last year’s level and touch the 50,000 tonne mark in the ongoing fiscal, buoyed by strong demand and supply of export- quality fruit. (IANS)