Demand is on the up in India for dried fruit and nuts, and the California Walnut Commission (CWC) is heading up plans to become a key supplier after gaining access earlier this year.
Sumit Saran, director of the SCS Group which represents the CWC in India, told the Hindu Business Line that they were “looking at a three-pronged strategy to tap the Indian market”.
This included creating consumer awareness on the health benefits of walnuts and working closely with wholesalers and retailers to promote and increase their availability.
California’s success in gaining entry for walnuts to India also means that they will be available throughout the year, according to Saran, creating ideal conditions to boost consumption.
Consumption for 2013 is estimated at 29,000 tonnes, a 16 per cent rise from last year.
The US Department of Agriculture forecasts that India’s domestic walnut production will reach 40,000 tonnes in 2013/14, up 11 per cent from a year ago.
The nut’s increase in popularity is reflected in the steady decline of exportable surplus produce, despite the rise in production.
This year’s walnut imports are expected to reach 1,000 tonnes. Similarly to California almonds, these are set to be shipped still in their shells.
Almonds in their shell were by far the leading Indian import in the dried fruit and nuts category, comprising a value of US$390m out of a total US$751m in 2012/13. Shelled almonds comprised US$46.8m for the same period.
The US is the second largest walnut producer in the world after China, with the CWC representing more than 4,600 growers in the state of California.
For exports of India walnuts, the UK, Egypt, the Netherlands, Germany and the US made the top five destinations in 2012.