U.S. to lift 17-year ban on import of Indian mangoes

Americans will soon get their first taste in nearly two decades of India's beloved mangoes.

On a day when U.S. President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minster managed to cut a landmark civilian nuclear pact and agree on a sweeping agenda for economic and scientific cooperation, Indian and U.S. officials also found time for the sweet fruit eaten by hundreds of millions of people in India and elsewhere.

The U.S. banned mango imports from India 17 years ago over concerns that Indian farmers used too many pesticides.

Now, Indian farmers will instead irradiate the fruit to kill any pests, making the mangoes fit for consumption in the eyes of U.S. agriculture officials.

Mangoes from India, one of the world's largest producers, are already available in many parts of Asia, the Middle East and Europe and have a loyal following at home and abroad. The fruit should hit market shelves in America in about 18 months.

"The United States is looking forward to eating Indian mangoes," Bush told reporters, reports the AP.


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