Poland has landed its first-ever apple shipments in India, after gaining access to the market late last year.
Imported by Yupaa and supplied by Fruitland, the first containers of Royal Gala apples arrived at Nhava Sheva port on 28 March – and Yupaa’s Parth Kavat told Asiafruit the company was very encouraged by the outturns.
“This was a first trial to check the fruit quality, packaging and safe arrival,” said Karvat. “Based on this good experience, we are working on a programme now.”
While Polish apples were granted access to the Indian market last year, clearance to start shipments only came in January after ambiguities relating to the phytosanitary protocol had been resolved. Yupaa has been working with Fruitland for some time to prepare shipments, and the companies are making a concerted effort to introduce Polish apples to the Indian market.
“Fruitland is a family-owned company with more than 200ha of apple orchards and a state-of-the-art packhouse,” said Yupaa’s chairman Ambrish Karvat. “We have a long-term tie-up to work together towards developing the Indian market for Polish apples.”
While Poland is one of the world’s largest apple growers and exporters, Ambrish points out the majority of the country’s exports are traditionally packed for the Russian market and sent in reefer trucks, so there is a learning curve when it comes to shipping to India.
“The biggest challenge for Polish growers and exporters is to learn how to select the fruit colour and quality, pack to international standards and manage logistics,” explained Ambrish. “Fortunately Yupaa Group has this knowledge, which we’ve shared with Fruitland to make this project a success.”
Yupaa is confident that Polish apples will perform strongly in the Indian market, not least given their competitive pricing. “We’re importing Royal Gala from Fruitland – it’s a variety Indian consumers are well aware of, so Polish apples can be popularised very easily,” said Ambrish. “Polish apples are reasonably priced, which will be attractive to Indian consumers.”
The debut shipments also marked a milestone for Maersk, as this was the first time the leading global shipping line had shipped reefer containers from Poland to Nhava Sheva.
Poland has been aggressively seeking to develop new markets in Asia for its apples since Russia slapped an embargo on Polish imports on 1 August 2014. In a recent interview with Asiafruit Magazine, president of the Polish Fruit Growers Association and Member of Parliament Miroslaw Maliszewski, spelt out the industry's plans. “We want Polish apples to be present in China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries across the region,” he said. “We’re already selling to some of these countries, and we are about to enter others.”