During a public-private visit last April, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Claudio Ternicier and the Joint Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, Ashwani Kumar, signed an agreement giving the green light to the export of fresh blueberries and avocados from Chile to India, under inspection. A signing ceremony was held, where the general manager of ASOEX, Miguel Canala-Echeverría also participated, given that the work was carried out jointly with the Chilean and Indian authorities to achieve the opening of the Indian market to these new national fruits.

In this context, and in order to verify compliance with the protocol established to begin exporting the aforementioned Chilean fruits during the 2017-2018 season, a delegation of the ministries of Agriculture and Trade and Industry of India, met with professionals from the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), and the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (ASOEX).

The Indian delegation included: Ashwani Kumar, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and Welfare for Farmers (DAC & FW), K. S. Kapoor, Deputy Director of the Phytosanitary Protection, Quarantine and Storage Division, R. K. Sharma, Assistant Director at the same address, and Lokesh Gautam, Field Inspector for India’s Ministry of Trade and Industry Exporting of Agricultural and Processed Food Commodities (APEDA) Authority. They were received by: SAG Director, Ángel Sartori and ASOEX President Ronald Bown, along with the SAG’s International Affairs Division Chief, Veronica Echávarri, SAG’s Agricultural and Forestry Protection Division Chief, Rodrigo Astete, Chile’s Agricultural attaché in India, Jaime González, ASOEX’s General Manager, Miguel Canala-Echeverría, and Paulina Escudero, an ASOEX agronomist.

“They are verifying the ground – and so I was told at the meeting by the mission’s Chief whose charge is counterpart to mine – the neatness with which it is produced in our country, the rigorousness of controls and certification surveillance for products that will soon reach the tables of consumers in India, which is an immense market, and beginning this September we will start exporting blueberries and Chilean avocados, as a result of the negotiations where we have always been accompanied by the private sector”, said Angel Sartori.

“This visit from the professional sectors of India’s ministry of agriculture and the ministry of trade and industry comes after the agreement signed in Delhi in April, that led to the opening of the export of our blueberries and avocados. A negotiation process that lasted almost 10 years in which, as ASOEX, we worked jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture and SAG, in order to expand our target markets”, said ASOEX President, Ronald Bown.

K. S. Kapoor, Deputy Director of the Department of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage (DAC&FW) of the Ministry of Agriculture of India, explained that during the visit they were able to check orchards and packs of avocados on the ground, thus verifying compliance to the high safety and quality standards carried out by the Chilean export sector. Kappor added that one aspect that especially drew his attention was that crops like avocado were produced on slopes, as well as the high technology applied in the industry.

The deputy director of DAC&FW added that they were pleased with the good relations established with our country. This will represent benefits for both nations, since, according to India’s government representative, they hope to achieve exports of Indian mangos and pomegranate to Chile in the short term.

The visit
The Indian delegation arrived in Chile on Wednesday, August 16 and stayed until Saturday 19. On this occasion, the visitors held meetings with SAG professionals from the central level and the Valparaíso Region, who in turn called their attention towards the undertakings being carried out in order to comply with the protocol established for the export of blueberries and avocados by both countries.

In addition they visited avocado orchards and packings in the Llay Llay and Hijuelas zones, in the Region of Valparaíso.

“The agreement reached with India for the export of blueberries under inspection and avocados under Systems Approach, is a major step for our fruit exports, since shipments were previously excluded due to Methyl Bromide, which was detrimental to the fruit’s condition and quality. India is advancing more and more in technical work concerning the establishment of entry requirements, but still presents challenges that must be addressed as is the case of its high tariffs, as well as opening up its economy in greater measure”, said Chile’s agricultural aggregate in India, Jaime González.

“India is a country that is growing at a rate of 7% a year, which indicates that more and more people have the purchasing power to consume new and imported products such as avocado and blueberry, especially when consumption is linked to providing health and nutrition. Although the consumption of blueberries is a little more prevalent, avocado consumption needs to grow. Educating people on how to consume this fruit as well as its contributions, is essential. We must do promotional actions”, Gonzalez added.

Comments that coincide with comments made by the General Manager of the Chilean Hass Avocado Committee, Juan Enrique Lazo, “India is a tremendous market, although it still consumes little avocado, there is an emerging market with a great potential for growth. This market has a large middle class with a consumption power similar to that of the United States, and although it is a great challenge to be far from Chile, we believe that our industry and our avocados can take it on properly.

Exports
According to ASOEX figures Chile exported more than 35 thousand tons of fresh fruits to India during the 2015-2016 season. This represented an increase of close to 70% in relation to what was sent in the 2014-2015 season, and evidences the importance of the Indian market for fresh fruit exports.

Of the more than 35 thousand tons, 89.9% corresponded to shipments of red apples, 9% to kiwis, 0.8% to table grapes, 0.3% to fresh plums, 0.1% to cherries and pears, respectively.