(Sept. 9) NOGALES, Ariz. — More than four years after mango importers first proposed the idea, the National Mango Promotion, Research and Information Board is likely to be approved by the end of September, U.S. Department of Agriculture and industry representatives said.

George Mendez, chairman of the mango division of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas and owner of G. Mendez & Co., both of Nogales, said it’s a “done deal.”

“It’s just a matter of how soon they can get it done, and it’s only a guesstimate, but we’re guessing in two weeks, it will be published,” Mendez said on Sept. 9 about the USDA forwarding final documents to be published in the Federal Register, the final step in approving the board.

Mendez said FPAA representatives relayed the impending approval from Washington, D.C., during the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference Sept. 7-10. Both A.J. Yates, administrator of the department’s Agricultural Marketing Service, and Robert Keeney, deputy administrator of fruit and vegetable programs at the AMS, confirmed that a decision was coming soon, Mendez said.

The AMS oversees federal marketing and research and promotion orders.

AMS spokesman George Chartier said on Sept. 8 that final approval was pending but that a decision could come “very soon.”

“My instinct is that we’re getting close to having the final approval to publish a final rule in the Federal Register,” Chartier said.

Industry members approved the board’s formation during a referendum last November, the results of which were released by the USDA in January. Almost 80% of those voting favored the board, which will promote increased consumption of mangoes through a half-cent assessment on every pound of mangoes imported into the U.S.