During an 11-day period in March, first handlers and importers of fresh
mangos voted to continue the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Mango
Promotion, Research & Information Order for an additional five years.
In the referendum, 73 percent of those who voted favored the continuation of
the order. Any current first handler or importer who handled or imported
500,000 or more pounds of mangos during the representative period Jan. 1,
2008, through Dec. 31, 2009, was eligible to vote. The program is funded by
an assessment of one-half cent per pound on all handled and imported fresh
William Watson, executive director of the board, said, "We are pleased and
grateful for the industry support. For us, it was all about remaining focused
and doing the best job we could (for the past five years), and then it was up
to the industry to vote and let the chips fall where they may."
The Produce News reached Mr. Watson April 21 while he was traveling in Haiti
to assess the effects of this winter’s devastating earthquake on mango
production. He said that the packingsheds were not damaged significantly,
but there are infrastructure problems that have to be overcome just to get the
product from the packingsheds to the ports for shipment to the United
States. He added that the psychological toll on all the people of Haiti is
tremendous. “Many of the workers in the industry had their homes damaged
or lost, and everyone you meet had a family member or someone else they
were close to die. It’s devastating.”
Nonetheless, he said that mango shipments from Haiti to the United States
should begin within a couple of weeks.
The Mango Promotion, Research & Information Order, which became effective
Nov. 3, 2004, authorizes the National Mango Board to conduct a coordinated
program of promotion, research and consumer and industry information in
order to maintain and expand the market for mangos. The board is comprised
of 20 members representing importers as well as producers from around the
world. Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and Haiti produce about 98
percent of the mangos consumed in the United States, with Mexico
accounting for about 60 percent of that volume.