Washington, July 4 : Crude oil skyrocketed to 145 dollars a barrel and Americans are feeling the pinch like never before.
With the Fourth of July weekend looming up, Americans are planning low key Independence Day celebrations.
Grocery shopping has undergone a rethink with buying in bulk and buying sensibly topping the list. So, if fruits have to be bought, then why buy 30 dollars a dozen Indian mangoes when one can get 10 dollars a dozen south American mangoes?
Sandeep Agarwal, the owner of an Indian grocery store in a Maryland suburb, says " in every box of Indian mangoes, one or two are over ripe or rotten. So, buyers get very angry when they pay so much and get poor quality mangoes. I believe early rains in India are to blame. Indian mangoes can't compete with south American mangoes because the latter are cheaper, good quality and easily available."
At his store, Dana Bazaar one can find at least 50 varieties of pickles but no Indian fruits. At three times the price of south American varieties, Indian mangoes stand little chance of succeeding. Irradiation of mangoes before they reach American shores add to the cost of the mangoes.
Asit Tripathy, the Chairman of the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) is in New York these days discussing with US regulators the possibility of Indian mangoes being tested on arrival in the US or else random checking instead of each batch being certified separately, as is being done these day.
Lifting the 18 year ban on Indian mangoes hasn't really had much of an impact as volume of sales remain low. Just a million dollars worth of Indian mangoes were exported to the US in the past year. The mango lassi that is served in Indian restaurants is made with south American mangoes. It doesn't hurt the Indian palate as much as it hurts Indian pride. Fred Thomas who travels to India quite often says, "I have tasted Indian mangoes here in the US, but they just don't taste the same as in India. You just have to be in hot and balmy Indian summer afternoon, sitting by the Goan beach eating a succulent aapoos to savour the real flavour of Indian mangoes. It's the same as not being able to enjoy a lamb Bic Mac in India. Just doesn't taste the same." Fred is right. How can cilantro chicken be a dhania murg? How can the humble dal be referred to as dahl? Its just not the same. Americans are not ready for the real stuff yet. Hopefully one day, gas prices will return to under a dollar....one day there won't be a Bush or a Clinton in the White House....one day an alphonso will replace the south American 'stuff' called a mango. By Smita Prakash