Opinion

Challenges in Logistics Could Hinder Growth in Indian Mango Exports

Fresh Mango
United Arab Emirates
Published Apr 11, 2024
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Known for its variety and quality, the Indian mango industry faces logistical challenges that could hinder its growth. India, the largest mango producer, saw a 20% decline in exports in 2023, estimated at 145,000 mt. The UAE showed a 21.96% increase, while Saudi Arabia declined by 30.61%. High air freight costs remain a significant hurdle, exacerbated by global economic factors and the Red Sea crisis. India's cold storage and supply chain inefficiencies also contribute to delays and wastage. Climate factors, such as El Niño, further complicate logistics. However, investments in infrastructure and market diversification efforts are underway. Despite challenges, the industry is poised for growth, expecting improved exports driven by increased output and demand from the UAE and the US.

Figure 1: India Fresh Mango Export Volume 2019-2023*

India Mango Exports

*Data for 2023 are available for the first nine months

Source: Tridge

The Indian mango industry, well-known for its wide variety and high quality, is on the verge of considerable growth. However, this potential is threatened by logistical challenges that could hinder its progress. As the world's largest mango producer, India's ability to export its mangoes is crucial for the industry's growth and the livelihood of thousands of farmers who depend on this industry for their income. Data from India's Ministry of Industry and Commerce as of Jul-23 show that its mango exports had declined by around 20% year-on-year (YoY), down to 145,000 metric tons (mt). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) showed the most substantial growth in export volume of fresh mangoes with a 21.96% YoY increase, up to 6,525 mt in the first nine months of 2023. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia recorded a substantial decline of 30.61% YoY, down to 11,691 mt in the same observing period due to the intense competition from Egypt, (more on this here).

Logistical Challenges in Indian Mango Exports

One of the primary logistical hurdles facing Indian mango exporters is the high freight rates. The cost of air freight, a standard mode of transport for mango exports to ensure freshness, has escalated. This increase is partly due to the global economic situation and the ongoing Red Sea crisis, which has led to a rerouting of shipping lanes and a subsequent spike in transportation costs.

Moreover, India's logistical infrastructure presents its own set of challenges. The lack of adequate cold storage facilities and inefficiencies in the supply chain can lead to delays and wastage. Mangoes require a seamless cold chain to maintain quality from farm to market. Any disruption in this chain can lead to spoilage, affecting both the quality of the export and the reputation of Indian mangoes in the international market.

Another factor that poses a significant risk to the logistics of mango exports is the El Niño effect. This phenomenon can lead to unpredictable weather patterns, which may affect the production and quality of mangoes and potentially reduce the mango yield. Such a reduction in yield could significantly impact the volume of mangoes available for export, highlighting the urgency of addressing this issue.

Nevertheless, according to ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture statements, mango production in India is expected to climb by nearly 14% YoY to 24 million metric tons (mmt) this year. The India Meteorological Department's forecast of a heat wave from April-May may not substantially influence mango yield if farmers maintain watering during May to minimize excessive fruit falling.

The Indian government and private sector are actively mitigating these issues. For instance, investments in infrastructure development, such as building more cold storage facilities and improving transportation networks, are underway. Additionally, there is a strategic push towards diversifying export markets and reducing dependency on air freight by exploring sea freight options for closer markets.

In conclusion, while the Indian mango industry faces significant logistical challenges, concerted efforts exist to overcome these obstacles. The industry's adaptation and creativity will ensure that the expansion of Indian mango exports becomes a reality rather than a possibility. Tridge anticipates improved mango exports, driven by increased output and increased demand from the UAE and the US.

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