The antioxidant-rich fruit from Australia has been allowed into India since October, 2015, and was on the menu at an opening dinner for Australia Business Week in India (ABWI) in Chennai.
Australian Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, has highlighted the benefits of his country’s premium blueberries as part of a broader agricultural trade pitch at ABWI, an event taking place across several Indian cities this week.
In a release, the minister said fresh Australian blueberries and tender Aussie lamb were tried and tasted by potential importers during an Australia-India dinner as part of the event.
“Australia Business Week in India (ABWI) is a great opportunity to promote Australian agricultural produce, especially for the Australian blueberry and sheepmeat industries, with delegates from these industries on the ground in India this week to promote the best Australia has to offer” Hartsuyker said.
Hartsuyker said Australian blueberries have been showcased for the first time at ABWI since gaining market access.
“The Australian Government secured market access for blueberry farmers to India in October 2015 – turning what’s written on paper into a profitable market means building commercial relationships and that takes time,” he said.
“Judging by the reaction to the high quality Aussie produce at the dinner, sponsored by Meat and Livestock Australia, there will be a lot of interest in developing a strong consumer base in India.
“It was great to see the food retailers and the hospitality industry in Chennai so receptive to the Australian lamb and blueberries that were centre stage on the menu. It was a great springboard from which to build commercial relationships for these commodities into the future.”
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) research shows agri-food demand in India is forecast to increase significantly by 136% between 2009 and 2050.
“Consumption of fruit is also expected to increase by nearly 250 per cent by 2050 and blueberries, which are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, are well placed to carve out a piece of that market,” Hartsuyker said.
“I know that the blueberry and sheepmeat industries will use this trip to reinforce their credentials as reliable suppliers of high quality product.”
While Australia’s fruit and vegetable industry has a relatively small presence in India, the country is Australia’s fifth-largest agricultural export market in 2016–17, with exports valued at AUD$3.1 billion, up 475.5% since 2011–12.
“India is already a significant market for Australian produce including chickpeas, wheat, raw cotton, wool and lentils, and there are opportunities to expand trade in wool, cotton, oilseeds, edible oils, lamb, and horticulture, particularly other tree nuts through increasing domestic demand and counter seasonality of Australian production,” Hartsuyker said.