EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan welcomes the announcement on the improved access to the Indian market for EU apple exports:
"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. 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".
While all access points were closed to apples imports since September 2015 with the exception of one port, as of this week, European producers can get their apples into the Indian market through the sea ports and airports in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Cochin, as well as the airport in Delhi. The importation of apples is also allowed through India’s land borders.
The Indian market has huge potential. 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).
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. In this context, Poland reached an agreement with India and the first Polish apples entered the market in April 2015.