An apple a day can do more than just keeping the doctor away! Be it the bite of Himachal Pradesh’s Royal delicious, Dark Baron Gala, Scarlet Spur, or a slice of Kashmir’s Shireen, Firdous, Ambri or Trial, – the world has been privy to those rich and round red apple varieties sourced from Indian Market.
India’s lucrative market for apple exports has jumped 82% since 2014, while fruit imports increased marginally by 3.8% during the same time, according to the data by the Commerce Ministry. The increase in exports is aiding the growers/farmers in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to further push the outbound shipments of different varieties of apples in different parts of the world.
Apple of the wallet A look at the data
India is the world’s fifth-largest producer of apples, with almost all of its apples produced mainly in just three hilly states – Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Citing the value terms, exports rose to USD 12.25 million, indicating healthy growth over the years. Looking at the other side, imports have increased 3.8% to USD 240 million in the year 2020-21 from USD 230.8 million in 2014-15.
It is worth highlighting that, of the 6,500 varieties of apples in the world, India produces 20.
Apple Business The demand on Rise
About 82% of apples imported into India are from Chile, New Zealand, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, and the U.S. Chile accounted for a quarter of India’s imports, followed by New Zealand (16.45%), Turkey (12.43%), and Italy (10.8%).
Small supplies of apples to India include Iran ((7.73%), the UAE (3.29%), and Afghanistan (0.43%) during April-November 2021-22.
Concentrated efforts are made by the government to further push apple exports to the world. It is pertinent to mention that Indian apples have much higher demand in the market because of factors like their low price, freshness, and high quality
Reaping the Benefits
Apple (Malus pumila) is commercially the most important temperate fruit and is fourth among the most widely produced fruits in the world after banana, orange, and grape. Apple farming over the years has been fruitful for the hilly states of India as the cultivation showed potential in doubling Farmers Income over time.
For instance in Kashmir, the climatic and other agroecological factors of the valley are ideally suited to the cultivation of many apple varieties besides other temperate fruits. Around 5-6 lakh families comprising about 30 lakh people are directly or indirectly associated with apple cultivation and generating an income of Rs. 8,000 crores annually for the state (Government of Jammu & Kashmir, 2018)
Apple industry in the state has emerged as an important sector for diversification towards horticulture and has established its credibility in doubling farm income through increased productivity, generating employment, and enhancing exports, besides providing household livelihood security. Apart from the government schemes, the more profound factor for diversification of the valley’s agriculture towards the apple sector is driven by the comparative advantage principle. Furthermore, with growing consumer awareness about healthy eating, and established perceptions about apples as a healthy and flavourful fruit coupled with increasing income, the Indian market for apples has huge growth potential