Europe has welcomed India’s decision to reopen its major ports to apple imports.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said India’s decision would help European producers looking for alternative markets.
"Improved access to the Indian market represents another positive step in finding alternative markets for EU producers, in light of the ongoing difficult market situation,” he said in a statement.
“Our efforts to break down any barriers to our agricultural exports and to open markets to our producers are ongoing, as part of the diplomatic offensive we are leading in 2016.”
On 12 January, India reversed a decision made in September 2015 to restrict apple imports from Europe and elsewhere to just one major port.
European producers can now access the Indian market via the seaports and airports in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Cochin, as well as the airport in Delhi. Access is also permitted through India’s land borders.
In its statement, the European Commission said the Indian market offers huge potential to EU apple shippers.
“EU exports of apples to India amounted to only around 7,000 tonnes in 2014, mainly from Italy, France and Belgium. Although provisional figures for 2015 show a considerable increase to around 11,000 tonnes, India has the potential to absorb a higher share of EU exports given its moderate domestic apple production (around 1.5 million tonnes in 2013, similar to Italy),” EC press officers said.
While the Russian embargo on EU agri-food products lasts, European producers continue to actively seek alternative markets with the support of Member States and the European Commission, the EC said. In this context, Poland reached an agreement with India and the first Polish apples entered the market in April 2015.