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Frozen mango marketing amendment approved for referendum

After five years of discussion, on Feb. 21 the Frozen Mango Amendment took a large step toward becoming a reality when the Federal Register published two relevant notices.nmb

The first notice indicates that frozen mango has been approved to become part of the Mango Promotion, Research & Information Order.

The second notice indicates that a referendum for importers of fresh and frozen mango will be conducted from March 25 to April 12, according to Manuel Michel, executive director of the National Mango Board.

According to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, “This rule amends the Agricultural Marketing Service's regulations regarding a fresh mango national research and promotion program to include frozen mangos as a covered commodity under the Mango Promotion, Research & Information Order. The importers of frozen mangos will be assessed one cent per pound on frozen mangos. Also, the National Mango Board's membership will be expanded from 18 to 21 with the addition of two importers of frozen mangos and one foreign processor.”

Michel said Feb. 21 that the assessment for fresh mango is three-fourths of one cent per pound. The rate for fresh and frozen is based on a calculation of the value of each category.

According to AMS figures, each year more than 100 million pounds of frozen mango is imported into the U.S. Thus, the inclusion of frozen product would increase the National Mango Board by more than $1 million per year.

The AMS indicates that in 2016, 984.5 million pounds of fresh mango were imported into the U.S. That total was 575 million in 2005. The fresh mango assessment collection began in January 2005, when NMB was officially engaged.

The purpose of the referendum is to measure industry support for the changes that have been made in the final rule. If the referendum passes, then the transition to include frozen mango will be finalized in the next few months.

Voting in the referendum are fresh mango importers, who handled over 500,000 pounds in 2017, and frozen mango handling over 200,000 pounds in 2017.

Michel told The Produce News that he didn’t want to jinx the outcome by being overly optimistic by predicting a positive outcome on the referendum. But he said when the effort began to bring frozen product into the mango marketing order five years ago, industry support was in the range of 66 to 75 percent. The USDA referendum is in place to assure that five years down the road the sentiment hasn’t changed.

“I think there is a strong possibility of this passing,” Michel said. “We see this as a positive for both categories, which complement each other.”

If the referendum passes this spring, the one cent per pound assessment rate on frozen mango will go into effect on July 22, 2019.

Michel said the promotion can increase the consumption of frozen mango products, as it has boosted fresh mango sales. He noted that the technology to produce frozen mango chunks has improved so much that those defrosted chunks “are now almost like fresh.”

Full details from the AMS are available here. Details on the referendum are here.