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June 5, 2000

Hawaii Mangos Cleared for Export to Japan

Honolulu - A longstanding prohibition on exporting Hawaii mangos has been lifted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in Japan, clearing the way for certain varieties of the fruit to enter Japanese markets. Due to efforts of the state and federal Departments of Agriculture, in cooperation with MAFF, the prohibition was lifted on May 17, allowing the Keitt and Hayden varieties of mango to be shipped from Hawaii.

Previously, Japan placed an import ban on Hawaii mangos due to the fruit fly infestation problem. Tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service for treatment of fruit flies have satisfied Japanese government officials to allow mangos in their markets. A vapor heat process, similar to that used for Hawaii-grown papayas, is the treatment method accepted by Japan.

"The lifting of the prohibition on mangos in Japan is a great triumph for Hawaii's tropical fruit industry," said James J. Nakatani, Chairperson, Hawaii Board of Agriculture. "We need to now concentrate efforts to optimize the growth potential for the mango industry."

The Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service (HASS) reports that the state has approximately 240 planted acres in mango, with 85 harvestable acres. Currently, most of Hawaii mangos are grown in backyards or in the wild and are consumed locally. The state has very few acres in commercial mango production at this time due to the previously limited market. This clearance by Japan will likely encourage local farmers to make the investment to grow more mangos for export. Since it takes five to seven years before mango trees bear marketable fruit, it was not an investment that many farmers could make without assurances of export markets.

For more information, contact Dr. Lyle Wong, HDOA's Plant Industry Division Administrator at (808) 973-9530.