Breakthrough for Aussie barley and fruit exporters after Indian approvals

Breakthrough for Aussie barley and fruit exporters after Indian approvals

Export approvals are always welcome for agriculture, but as any grower will tell you it's the protocols that really count.

This is why India's green light for two biosecurity processes could be a boon for Australian exporters of fruit and barley, with the potential to further penetrate the giant market. 

Following India's approval of phosphine fumigation for malting barley and in-transit cold treatment of a variety of fruits, our exporters will have access to brand new and growing market segments.

Approval to use in-transit cold treatment is expected to benefit Australian exporters of fruits such as table grapes, apples, pears and summerfruit.

There is already a trade in these fruits but it is tiny in comparison to Australia's leading horticultural export markets; just $830,000 worth of table grapes, $352,000 worth of apples and pears, and $180,000 worth of summer fruit were exported to India in 2019.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud says the developments will benefit our exporters considering fruit will arrive faster and in better in India once in-transit cold treatment is rolled out.

"This is a massive market of young, health conscious and vegetarian consumers seeking high quality fresh and safe fruit and vegetables," says Littleproud, in reference to the proportionately high percentage of vegetarians in the South Asian country compared to elsewhere. 

"As the product is treated as it is transported, it gets to the market quicker and the exporter can charge a premium on increased freshness," he says. 

"These are two significant market access achievements for our farmers who are the bedrock of our economy and will lead Australia's post-COVID recovery."

The approval of phosphine fumigation as a quarantine treatment for malting barley will save our exporters around $10 per tonne, making the Indian market more accessible.

Littleproud says barley exporters would be amiss to let this opportunity slide by considering India is falling in love with beer right now.

"The Indian malt market is estimated at 500,000 tonnes, worth over $100 million, and it is anticipated Australia could gain a fair proportion of that market in 2021," says Littleproud.

"There has been growth in the consumption of beer in India and Australia is known worldwide for its high-quality malting barley.

"The recognition [of phosphine fumigation as a quarantine treatment] will also help us to negotiate broader acceptance of phosphine as a treatment for other grains, pulses and nuts."

These developments build on an already healthy two-way agricultural trade with India.

In 2018 the segment was worth more than $1 billion, with Australia exporting $664 million of agriculture, fisheries and forestry products.

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