Yesterday, the first container of bananas from India was received. Initiators INI Farms, a sister company of Ulink Agritech, and Del Monte, along with representatives from the Embassy of India, shipping company Maersk, and host Rotterdam Fruit Wharf, opened the first container.
Representatives from exporter INI Farms, importer Fresh Del Monte, carrier Maersk, Indian government partner Apeda, scientific and technical partner Cish, and the Embassy of India welcomed the first container of bananas yesterday at logistics partner Rotterdam Fruit Wharf.
Purnima Khandelwal, CEO of exporter INI Farms, described it as a momentous occasion that involved a lot of effort. "With the arrival of Indian bananas in Europe, a dream has come true. It's a market we have been pursuing, but is challenging to enter. If we succeed, we will distinguish ourselves in terms of leadership."
There they are! The first bananas from India
Largest banana producer
India is the largest banana producer globally, but a very small player when it comes to exports. Purnima mentioned that the long transit time is the main challenge for exporting Indian bananas to Europe. INI Farms exports bananas to the Middle East, and depending on the destination, they take between five and fourteen days, while the transit time to Rotterdam is 21 days. It imposes demands on pre- and post-harvest treatments, noted the CEO.
The quality of the bananas is being checked
While the European banana market is new and challenging for INI Farms, the same does not apply to products like pomegranates and pomegranate seeds. This ensures that the company is familiar with the requirements of the European market, and quality certificates, MRLs, and food safety aspects have been adapted to the European market.
Expansion of Collaboration
The collaboration with Del Monte, responsible for marketing, is not new either. Jacopo Sica, Director Sales and Operations, explained that there has been a partnership between INI Farms and Del Monte for several years, among others focusing on exporting grapes to the Middle East. "The trial with bananas is an expansion of our collaboration with INI Farms and aims to become a regular program. Bananas are a consumer-favorite fruit, so having a new source of bananas for the European market is welcomed.”
Representatives from Fresh Del Monte and INI Farms showcase the bananas
“Banana import trends in Europe are fully driven by the demand patterns of consumers and we believe that this new Indian-origin fruit marketed by Del Monte will encourage shoppers to buy, allowing us to develop this partnership further in the future,” said Del Monte Senior Vice President Europe & Africa, Gianpaolo Renino.
Both INI Farms and Del Monte were delighted with the good quality receipt of the first container. “This has opened the doors for a long term partnership.” The partners agreed to further collaborate to bring Indian banana to global standards and bring it on the plates of European consumers.
The director of the Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture shows the difference between bananas that underwent organic post-harvest treatment (left) and bananas that were not treated (right)