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India to push the mango to new markets

Officials from K. Seeds Investments Pvt Ltd (at left) with officials from Commercial Credit and Finance PLC (at right)

NEW DELHI, May 23, 2006 (AFP) - India, the world's largest mango producer, is set for a big push to sell its succulent "king of fruit" to countries like Japan and the United States, officials say. The mango is native to India, which grows 12 million tons (10.8 million metric tonnes) of the fruit, more than half the world's output.

But India's exports amount to just seven percent of the world mango trade, according to government figures.

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"It's almost negligible -- peanuts," said A.S. Rawat, from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

But APEDA expects Indian mango exports to rise sharply in the next year, and has been working hard to open up markets like Japan and the United States.

"You can safely presume a 50 percent (rise) next year," S.
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Dave, the export group's director, told AFP.

His optimism is based in part on what appears to be renewed interest in both the United States and Japan for the mango.

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"The United States is looking forward to eating Indian mangoes," US President George W. Bush said on a visit to India in March in what was dubbed "mango diplomacy" by the Indian media.

Right now India exports abou

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