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India focuses on Kazakhstan to boost fruit exports to Central Asia

New Delhi, April 19 : Scouting for untapped international markets in the face of dwindling fruit exports, the government has zeroed in on Kazakhstan, which is expected to open up local markets in the Central Asian region, where tropical fruits are in demand.
“The region remains covered under snow for almost six months of the year. They have (sub-tropical) pomegranate and grapes. Our embassy in Kazakhstan has informed us that tropical fruits are in much demand there. So we are going to promote Indian varieties of mango, pineapple and banana,” APEDA Chairman D.K. Singh said.
“The move will open up the markets in the surrounding countries since Kazakhstan acts as distribution centre in the region,” he added. Kazakhstan is a part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a regional grouping of former Soviet republics, including Russia. The other CIS countries are Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
While Mango varieties from across the country would be chosen for the exports, pineapples would be preferred from Sikkim.
“We can easily air-transport banana to (Kazakhstan capital) Almaty in just three hours,” Singh said.
According to APEDA data, global exports of fruits fell to 455,805 tonnes during April-January 2017-18 from 581,718 tonnes in the corresponding period in 2016-17.
Similarly, vegetable exports in the same period fell to 1,882,035 tonnes from 2,871,370 tonnes in 2016-17. Currently, the export of agricultural commodities to Russia is at a “comfortable” scale but other CIS countries do not import “much” from India, Singh said.
India exported 28,755 tonnes of fruit to Russia in 2016-17 but the quantity has reduced this year as just 15,244 tonnes could be exported during April-January 2017-18. Ukraine and Belarus have also been importing Indian fruit, but the share has reduced this year.
This summer, APEDA will conduct market promotion activities for Indian varieties of mangoes in Kazakhstan, South Korea, China and Iran.
“Last year, we exported 60-70 tonnes of mangoes to South Korea. This year, we expect it to be 100 tonnes. We are going to take some exporters to these countries this year to promote our mangoes,” Singh said.
Singh said the export body was facing difficulties in selling mangoes in the Chinese market due to tariff barriers and issues with translation. (IANS)