Italy’s apple exporters are celebrating their second major breakthrough of the year following the news that Thailand has published a protocol effectively granting market access for their fruit.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after the first ever consignment of Italian apples – specifically a containerload of Pink Lady shipped by leading marketer Vog – set sail for Vietnam, which has also recently opened its doors to apples from the Mediterranean country.

The opening of the Thai market represents an important step for Italy’s apple export business, which has targeted several different overseas market in over the past decade as part of a joint diversification strategy.

Those countries include four main targets – Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Mexico – of which Taiwan and Mexico remain closed.

Thailand already accepts imported apples from France, while Vietnam is open to apples from France, Poland and the Netherlands.

The new protocol reportedly came into effect on 23 April and allows Italian suppliers to export their apples from the start of next season, giving producers time to register orchards and packhouses with Thai authorities ahead of the new campaign.

“In the last few years, guaranteeing major commercial outlets for our producers has been one of our main objectives,” said Alessandro Dalpiaz, director of apple industry association Assomela. “Having allowed access to the Thai market so quickly and with excellent teamwork makes us particularly proud of the result.”

Simona Rubbi, head of international relations at CSO Italy, commented: “Once again, and more than ever, teamwork has produced excellent results in a short time. Having been given the green light by the Thai authorities, we are already prepared to put in place everything required to make this market accessible to other Italian specialities like kiwifruit, pears, table grapes and citrus.”

She added: “We hope that the apples’ winning formula is also replicated for the other products.”