FAS New Delhi forecasts marketing year (MY) 2018/19 declines in fresh apple import of approximately 9 percent year-on-year, reaching 0.23 million metric tons (MMT). FAS New Delhi also estimates declines in pear imports of 4 percent year-on-year to 14,000 metric tons (MT) overall.
These import declines are largely due to significant rupee depreciation, Indian trade concerns about the global trade outlook, and a temporary ban on Chinese apples and pears from entry into Indian market. India will remain a major exporter fresh table grapes. FAS New Delhi projects MY 2018/19 table grape exports to increase by 6 percent year-over-year to 0.18 MMT from 0.17 MMT in MY 2017/18.
FAS New Delhi forecasts a rebound in MY 2018/19 Indian apple consumption to 2.2 MMT. The increase is due to availability, accessibility, food choice, changing demographics, urbanization, culture, and consumer attitude in India. Most importantly, Indian consumers’ continued and growing health awareness and the apple availability drive consumption year-round. As a result, apples are the most heavily consumed imported fruit in India. The uninterrupted supply of apples has led to increased consumption in smaller markets of the country too. Indians primarily consume the fruit fresh; out of the entire production, two percent is processed and according to the Ministry of Food Processing and Industries 10.39 percent of apples are spoiled or wasted.
Domestic production is limited by seasonality, geographical separation and insufficient infrastructure. It cannot meet increased consumption from the growing middle class. FAS New Delhi revises down the MY 2017/18 consumption numbers to 1.9 MMT. The revision reflects a depreciated Indian rupee that decreased Indian consumer’s purchasing power, India’s trade concerns about global trade outlooks, and noticeably lower domestic production.
The MY 2017/18 average unit price for U.S. fresh apples imported into India was USD 1,099 per ton; Italy at USD 1,125 per ton; and, New Zealand at USD 1,246 per ton.
FAS New Delhi projects MY 2018/19 consumption to increase by 20 percent from the previous year to reach 313,200 MT based on domestic production forecasts. The rise in disposable incomes, growing dual income households, and improved awareness of fresh fruit’s role in healthier diets drive increased consumption.
With restrained availability of domestic pears, fresh pear imports satisfy remaining consumer demand. India produces a limited volume of pears domestically throughout Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir, which are available from late summer to early winter. Indian consumers primarily consume pears in fresh form. Processing remains small at about two percent of domestic production because imported fruits’ high unit costs make them a less preferred option for processing. Waste or spoilage at approximately 10 percent of annual production.
The MY 2017/18 average unit price for fresh pears from South Africa was USD 1,147 per ton; U.S. imported pears into India priced at USD 1,140 per ton; and, Australian pear imports cost USD 1,011 per ton.