India follows only China as the world’s leading producer of fruit & vegetables. Here we talk to A.S. Rawat, general manager of India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) about its export sector.
What is one way that APEDA helps promote exports of Indian fresh produce?
We have a unique system which covers the entire cultivation process for certain product with everything recorded online and all stakeholders in the supply chain can access it, such as details of the size, productivity and practices used on a farm. Called HortiNET, this gives importers more confidence in our quality and consistency.
What products are covered?
We’ve identified 17 fruits and vegetables to start with. In fruit we already cover pomegranates, grapes, and mango and will add bananas. In vegetables we plan to cover okra, green chili, brinjal, bitter gourd, pointed gourd, snow peas and mushrooms.
How much of its production does India export?
It varies but is only about 2% in general – for example with mango it’s hardly 2% – except in the case of volume products like potatoes and onion. With onion we export about 7–8% of the total production, which is the highest.
What are your main export markets?
The Middle East is our major base but we are also focused on Europe, Southeast Asia (such as Japan and Malaysia), and also the US and Canada. Russia was also becoming important and China is coming up. This year a lot of our grapes are going to China and Russia. Exports to some Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark, are also picking up but we have a logistics problem there as the produce spoils in the shipment and transshipment and there are very few direct flights.
What trends are you seeing?
Supermarket buyers are asking for more variety. For example, we have only three grape varieties, Thompson and Sonalika, both seedless, and now Red Globe, which is becoming very popular in the Middle East. But they want other varieties of grapes and also of pomegranates and mangoes, so we are working on that.
This is just a taste of our interview, which appeared in full on page 17 of edition 136 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read the full article at this link.