Growing demand for in-shell almonds is driving an increase in imports from overseas, according to a new report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Domestic almond consumption has been revised higher to 42,500 tonnes compared with an earlier estimate of 36,000 tonnes for the 2008/09 season, the report said, as a result of lower prices relative to other nuts.
Imports are expected to hit 41,500 tonnes, up 4 per cent on 2007/08 due to a record US crop. The US accounts for 85 per cent of the country's almond imports, with Australia, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria the other major suppliers. Domestic production is expected to produce around 1,200 tonnes of in-shell almonds, the USDA report said.
Meanwhile, Indian walnut exports are pegged at 17,500 tonnes for the 2008/09 campaign, up 19 per cent on the previous season due to improved domestic supply and strong overseas demand.
The 2007/08 campaign saw 14,680 tonnes exported, with Spain (2,508 tonnes), France (2,025 tonnes), the Netherlands (1,675 tonnes) and the US (1,305 tonnes) the major export markets.