Australian avocados make their mark in India

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The- Australian avocado trade has embarked on a promising venture, as the first shipment of avocados from Australia arrived in Mumbai last week. This marks a significant milestone in the trial phase, which consists of 10 shipments aimed at providing full market access for Australian avocados in India. 

Australia’s High Commissioner in India, Barry O’ Farrell, shared his pictures on Twitter and said, “The first shipment of avocadoes have arrived in India! Thanks to Indian Agriculture Ministry and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their tremendous effort and work. Two-way agricultural trade is set to grow under #IndAusECTA. Can’t wait to relish Indian pomegranates when I’m back home in.”

The trial follows the tariff duty reductions implemented under the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) established last year, demonstrating the commitment of both nations to expand bilateral trade opportunities.

Leading the export efforts is Avolution, the largest exporter of avocados in Australia, representing approximately 120 growers. In collaboration with Mumbai-based dealer IG International, Avolution dispatched 176 cartons of premium avocados to Mumbai. 

The access granted to the Indian market comes as a significant boost for Australian avocado growers and suppliers who have been grappling with oversupply issues resulting from extensive plantings in anticipation of increased demand. Over the past decade, Australian avocado production has risen from 34,000 tonnes to 122,000 tonnes, with only a fraction of the produce being exported. Mexico and Peru currently dominate the global market for avocado exports.

The Indian market, which previously relied on imports from New Zealand, the EU, and Peru due to import tariff advantages, will now enjoy equal tariff treatment for Australian avocados. Tariffs for Australian avocados in India have been reduced to 30% and will gradually decrease to zero by 2029, levelling the playing field and stimulating demand in the price-sensitive Indian market.

Not only will Indian consumers benefit from this new avocado supply, but perishable goods importers are also expected to enjoy substantially lower sea-air freight rates. While avocado shipments have primarily been sent by air, growers from Western Australia and Queensland are exploring the use of ocean reefer containers for export to South-East Asia and Japan. With a journey duration of 20 to 30 days, this alternative route offers lower average ocean freight rates, benefiting the overall competitiveness of Australian exports to India.

Before avocados from Australia gain full access to the Indian market, the trial shipments must meet local biosecurity and food import guidelines. Once successful, this breakthrough paves the way for a thriving trade relationship between the two nations. The India-Australia FTA aims to boost bilateral trade to $50 billion within five years, an ambitious target that will unlock new opportunities and further strengthen economic ties.

The provisional access granted to Australian Hass avocados follows a comprehensive demonstration of their compliance with India’s biosecurity and food import requirements. The trial shipments, totalling 10, will undergo rigorous evaluation to determine if they meet India’s import standards.

The Australian government is actively collaborating with the avocado industry to facilitate trial shipments and streamline the accreditation process for avocado orchards and packhouses seeking to export to India. Exporters are advised to engage with Avocados Australia for further guidance and stay updated on forthcoming announcements from the Australian government.

As the first shipment of Australian avocados graces Indian shores, it is a testament to the expanding global reach of Australian agricultural exports. With the anticipation of full market access, the future looks promising for Australian avocado growers as they tap into the vast consumer base of India, fostering culinary innovation and driving economic growth in both nations.

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