Chile urged to exploit India's rising cherry and kiwifruit demand

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Chile urged to exploit India's rising cherry and kiwifruit demand

Chile's New Delhi-based agricultural attaché Rodrigo Gallardo has urged the country's growers and exporters to make the most of new trade agreements that are set to reduce fruit export tariffs to India within the next few months.

Gallardo said cherries and kiwifruit were two categories with strong scope for growth.

He told Chile's kiwifruit committee that it should work on promotion and product positioning in the South Asian nation's traditional markets and retail chains.

Gallardo said Indian consumers were used to buying in traditional markets and had a strong preference for produce with a high sugar content and that was cosmetically appealing, such as red apples and cherries.

He added there was a preference for European products which met the aspirations of India's estimated 300 million-strong middle class.

Gallardo said the cultural and religious diversity among the different states in India meant it was not a homogeneous market.

He quoted Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa as the main areas for imported fresh fruit consumption.

India's kiwifruit imports over the last three years have risen from US$3.2 million in 2009 to US$6.8 million in 2011, with the number of export countries increasing from five to 18.

Gallardo said Chile was the third-largest kiwifruit exporter to the country commanding an 8.4% market share, behind Italy at 42% and New Zealand at 33%.

In 2011, India imported US$568,000 worth of Chilean kiwifruit compared with US$197,600 in 201o, according to Office of Agricultural Studies and Policy (ODEPA) data.

Despite this growth, Gallardo said the figures were still considerably lower than Italy at US$2.8 million and New Zealand at US$2.2 million.

"In general, Chile is not in a good position in terms of origin. The majority of consumers associate kiwifruit with Italy and New Zealand who have conducted country of origin branding campaigns in traditional and retail markets," said Gallardo.

"This has given them a strong edge over products from other countries."

CIF statistics show that in 2011 Chile exported US$21.5 million worth of apples to India, US$793,000 in grapes, US$568,000 in kiwifruit, US$230,000 in cherries and US$341,000 in plums.

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