INDIA is one of the latest countries to enjoy the taste of Australian blueberries.
The first Australian blueberries exported to India were available in Indian grocery stores last November.
The commencement of exports was supported by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker, on a trip to India, as part of Australia Business Week in India (ABWI).
Mr Hartsuyker said he was pleased ABWI proved beneficial for Australia’s blueberry industry.
“India was our fifth-largest agricultural export market in 2016-17, with exports valued at $3.1 billion, up 475 per cent since 2011-12,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Exports of blueberries will further increase the value of this market to Australia.
“Australia has an impressive global reputation for producing high-quality, clean produce and our work in supporting these new exports demonstrates the Coalition Government’s commitment to expanding trade links—to benefit our industry and nation.
“It shows the value of working with our international trading partners to identify and progress new trade opportunities, to support the ongoing productivity and profitability of Australia’s agriculture industries.”
Kovai Pazhamudir Nilayam (KPN) Group, established in 1965, is the first importer of Australian blueberries into India.
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KPN is one of the leading premium retailers of fruit and vegetables in southern India, serving 30,000 customers a day.
In 2016, Australia exported $8.9 million worth of blueberries to almost 20 countries, including $4.4 million to Hong Kong.
Despite this, pressure still remains on the Federal Government to push for access to the Chinese market.
In 2015, Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association (ABGA) president, Greg McCulloch described the free trade agreement with China as “not worth the paper it is written on” without the establishment of export protocols for blueberry exports.
However last October, the ABGA said it had been made aware of positive progress toward securing market access into China for Australian grown blueberries.
The Australian and Chinese Governments have agreed on new horticulture market priorities, which includes blueberries and apples.
“Whilst market access is yet to be achieved, it is a significant step and the ABGA looks forward to continuing to work with the Australian Government in a positive and proactive manner,” a statement said.
At industry’s request, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources successfully negotiated market access for blueberries to India in September 2015.