Chile needs more presence and promotion, says Indian importer

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Chile needs more presence and promotion, says Indian importer

Despite efforts to establish business ties, Chilean fruit exports remain elusive for the Indian market, according to importer and exporter Manish Sharma.

Photo: Sofofa

The managing director of Fresco Fruits N Nuts explained that although Chile may be on the radar of the world’s second most populous nation, working with the South American nation has not been easy.

“My main target coming will be from Chile because we are already working with a lot of Chilean companies but nothing has been finalized yet,” Sharma told

“Chile actually is not doing anything for their agricultural support in India. Nothing is happening.”

Currently, Sharma imports large quantities from the U.S., South Africa, Egypt and China, with an emphasis on quality to satisfy the expectations of upper and middle class consumers.

In contrast to Chile, Sharma said imports from the U.S. have been successful because the U.S. has made an effort to break in.

“The U.S. Embassy is doing a lot of activities. They are meeting local importers. They are helping them. They are interacting with the people. But that’s not done from Chile. The Chilean Embassy is not acting like the U.S. Embassy is,” he said.

“There’s a communication gap which is actually creating problems. There has to be regular communication. They must do a lot of meeting activities. They call local importers, they listen to them, they send them regular information, they call them whenever there is a delegation coming to India and they let them meet each other.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), India has an appealing import market for a number of reasons. The nation has seen import growth thanks rising incomes and food demand, sluggish domestic production and liberal import policies.

Sharma seconded the appeal of selling in India, saying that the business environment is friendly, if only Chile would reach out.

India’s agricultural sector is substantial, accounting for about 16% of its GDP, according to the USDA. Agricultural imports also rose 16% from 1990 to 2009.

The U.S. has taken a large slice of the pie. In 2010, U.S.-India agricultural trade reached US$2.35 billion.

To tap into this market giant, Sharma said Chile needs to be seriously sending delegations to India and inviting Indian importers to Chile.

“If the delegation movement is not there, people don’t know. They don’t see the product. They don’t see the farming. They don’t see the quality,” he said.

“There are huge money issues involved. If I don’t see the product, I don’t know how the farming is happening, what is the quality, what is the status and then it is not possible to buy.”

Recently, Sharma has been invited on trade missions to both the U.S. and Australia. The special effort to make ties has created buyer preferences.

Sharma said his current top sellers are apples, citrus, grapes and kiwifruit. He also has strong interest in nut imports like almonds and walnuts, which he hopes Chile can help supply.

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