Blueberries are the fastest growing industry on the Coffs Coast. The NSW blueberry industry, of which the coast is the capital produces around 6,900 tonnes of produce each year valued at around $140 million.
Coffs Coast grown blueberries are now being stocked in Indian grocery stores, strengthening local returns from Australia’s fifth largest agricultural export market.
Kovai Pazhamudir Nilayam (KPN) Group, established in 1965 and serving 30,000 customers a day, is the first importer of Australian blueberries into southern India.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Luke Hartsuyker today welcomed the start of exports, following his recent trip to the sub-continent as part of Australian Business Week in India.
“India was our fifth-largest agricultural export market in 2016-17, with exports valued at $3.1 billion, up 475 per cent since 2011-12,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Exports of blueberries will further increase the value of this market to Australia.”
Australia exported $8.9 million worth of blueberries to almost 20 countries last year, including $4.4 million to Hong Kong.
At the industry’s request, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources successfully negotiated market access for blueberries to India in September 2015.
Oz Group Co-op chairman Gurmesh Singh said the local industry has been looking to open new markets in Asia for the last couple of years.
“The Indian market has the potential to be a really big market for the Australian blueberry industry,” Mr Singh said.
“Other fruits have shown that the Indian market takes really well to new crops and we hope that within the next decade that blueberries will be a staple in the Indian diet.”
• India was Australia’s fifth-largest agricultural export market in 2016-17, with exports valued at $3.1 billion, up 475.5 per cent since 2011-12.
• India is a significant market for Australian chickpeas ($1.1bn), wheat ($743.3m), raw cotton ($389m), wool ($224.3m), and lentils ($200m).
• India has an estimated GDP growth rate of 7.7 per cent for 2018, compared to the average of 1.7 per cent for G7 economies and boasts one of the world’s fastest growing economies, forecast to become the third-largest by 2030.
• Australia and China recently agreed to new horticulture market access priorities that will allow work to progress on potential exports of Australian blueberries to China. The inclusion of blueberries on the priority list will progress after the existing access priority of mainland apples.