India’s green light for Aussie walnut imports

Asian nut export prospects lift again as India accepts Australian walnuts


Agribusiness
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An initial 10 trial shipments of walnuts will be allowed into India

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Australian nut marketing options have opened up significantly following the signing of a market access agreement for walnuts with India.

Australian walnut exports are already worth about $22.68 million.

Sales will now be enhanced with an initial 10 trial shipments of walnuts allowed by Indian authorities before the trade doors are officially opened.

Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, said India and its 1.4 billion people represented a great trade opportunity for Australian farmers.

Australia had managed to win scientific approvals “from our Indian friends giving our walnut growers can export their clean, green product to India”.

“India is already a large export market for Australian almonds and there is huge potential for our other nuts to be exported there also,” Mr Littleproud said.

Getting scientists from two countries to agree on how to stop any threat of diseases or pests being exported from one country to another can be very difficult - David Littleproud, federal Agriculture Minister

The walnut export agreement comes as local almond giant, Select Harvests, highlighted the success of its marketing focus in Asia, particularly in key markets such as India and China.

Almond outlook optimistic

Select’s managing director, Paul Thompson, said the softening Australian exchange rate combined with a 10-fold increase in sales to China had lifted prices and conveniently coincided with a dip in US exports to the region last year.

American sales into China lost some of their momentum after tariffs on US nuts hiked from 10pc to 50pc by July.

Between March and December China bought 18pc of the Australian export crop – or almost 10,000 tonnes – up from less than 2pc for the same period in 2017.

Mr Thompson said the new harvest was now commencing after a “very favourable growing season”, although it was too early to accurately forecast crop size and quality.

Our walnut trade to India will formally commence once the import conditions are officially gazetted by India.

Mr Littleproud said many Australians did not realise a scientific market access agreement such as the one just negotiated was often the hardest part of getting access to a new market.”

“Getting scientists from two countries to agree on how to stop any threat of diseases or pests being exported from one country to another can be very difficult,” he said.

The Hort Innovation Australia prioritisation process and the nut industry had nominated the walnut market access as a priority.

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“Since then our agriculture counsellor in India has worked with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the walnut industry to get this access,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Agricultural counsellors win trade outcomes.

“That’s why we boosted the number of counsellors we have in key markets in the 2017-18 budget.”

Canberra has committed $51.3m over four years as part of its growing agricultural exports measures, expanding Australia’s overseas network to 22 agriculture counsellors, plus local support staff, in a range of key markets.

“Around 1.4b people live in India – more than 50 times the number of people in Australia – so it’s a huge market we’ve accessed for our walnut growers,” he said.

Since January 2016, the Australian Government had delivered 92 key market access gains or restorations and 87 key market access improvements or actions to maintain market access for agriculture.

Since 2013 the export value for Australia’s agricultural commodities exported to India has increased by 329 per cent to total $2.6 billion in 2017.

Australia gained market access for blueberries from late 2015.

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