The government’s UK-India Diaspora Champion, Priti Patel, has welcomed the decision by the European Commission to lift the ban on the import the famous Alphonso Mangos from India.
Ms Patel was one of a string of British Asian public figures who campaigned for the EC to reverse the ban which was imposed last year over quarantine fears.
“The ban on mangoes from India has been devastating for many Indian businesses in the UK and growers in India”, Ms Patel said.
“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 this news is welcome”, she added.
Ms Patel also slammed what she described as “unelected and unaccountable” Commissioners within the EC for the “arbitrary” ban.
“This case has highlighted the need for the EU to be reformed and for voters to have a referendum on our membership of the EU, which is something that only a Conservative Government can deliver”, she said.
Prime Minister David Cameron too weighed in: “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.”
Whilst the ban on Alphonso Mangos, arguably the most famous variety of all of the Indian mangos, has been lifted, restrictions remain in place for Indian aubergines, two types of squash and patra leaves – a popular leaf vegetable popular among immigrants from western India.
Restrictions were imposed on shipments to the EU in May 2013 after fruit flies were found in some consignments.
The lifting of the ban on Mangos has come as a relief for many producers in India.
Exports to the UK are vital for producers.
In 2012 more than six million Alphonso mangos were sold in Britain whilst producers also produce mango pulp for the likes of Innocent Drinks and other beverage companies in the west.