On Nov. 30, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack appointed five members to serve on the National Mango Board. During the board's November meeting, 2012 board members elected officers to serve in various leadership roles for 2013, as well as approve new marketing, research and industry relations programs for the upcoming year.
The appointees include four new members and one returning member. Ronald Cohen of Vision Import Group LLC in River Edge, NJ, and Daniel Pollak of Carb Americas Inc. in Pompano Beach, FL, will serve on the board as importers. Eddy Martinez of Agrotropic in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and Tomás Paulín of Quezada, Rancho Rincón del Progreso in Colima, Mexico, will serve as foreign producers. In the first handler position, Mariana Gonzalez Sanchez of EB International in Hidalgo, TX, has been appointed. Mr. Cohen is returning to the board to serve a second consecutive term and will assist the board as ex-officio. Each of the appointees will serve a three-year term of office beginning Jan. 1, 2013 and ending Dec. 31, 2015.
In a press release, the NMB expressed its gratitude for the service of the four board members whose terms have ended. They are Anthony Godinez of Godinez International LLC in Hidalgo, TX; Venancio Marti of Martex Farms in Carolina, Puerto Rico; Olaf Rasch of Fruticola del Sur, S.A. in Guatemala City, Guatemala; and Guillermo Palmeros of Frutas Tropicales de los Idolos S.S.S. in Actopan, Veracruz, Mexico.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 14 the board elected officers to lead the board throughout 2013. Bill Vogel of San Pedro, CA, will serve as chairman and Veny L. Marti of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, as vice-chairman. Serving as treasurer is George Mendez of Nogales, AZ, and serving as secretary is Armando Celis of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.
The newly appointed board members will participate in their first board meeting when the NMB convenes next March in McAllen, TX.
During the board meeting, staff provided updates on program results showing that by the third quarter of 2012 most had already exceeded their goals for the year. The NMB also presented a new marketing campaign, research and industry relations programs and initiatives for 2013, which the board unanimously approved.
"We are all enthusiastic about starting the next year with a new marketing campaign that will use innovative ways to reach U.S. consumers and increase mango demand," NMB Executive Director William Watson said in a press release. New research programs, which focus on improving mango quality and nutritional benefits of mangos, were also approved for 2013.
The NMB also discussed the next steps for the mango industry in light of the mango recalls. The NMB is currently conducting a risk assessment to learn more about mango food safety and will then form a scientific advisory board to review the findings and develop good agricultural practices.
In 2013, the NMB will also host a Mango food-safety conference March 6 in McAllen. It will focus on food-safety guidelines and standards for the mango industry.
"The mango industry is always an important priority for the NMB and we want to ensure that consumers can trust the safety and quality of mangos," said Mr. Watson.