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Last Updated:[12-03-2010 05:30:58 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Washington Apple Industry Eyes Larger Share of Asian Markets

tradenews An apple industry head from the US said Washington apples had great future in the Asian markets including Iraq, Iran, India, and even China as they were tastier and of higher quality than the ones which were presently available in these markets. Although China produces 50 percent of the global apple basket and made available at competitive prices with good appearance they were not as sweet as the Washington ones, claimed the industry dignitary.

The president of the Washington Apple Commission (WAC) Todd Fryhover said Iraq and Iran could be future expansion points for the otherwise stable but highly competitive Middle East market for Washington apples. Likewise, he informed apple exports to China and India from Washington were likely to double as these countries had large populations with increasing purchasing power.

The WAC identifies that direct access to these markets are key to increase sales. Washington shipped 1.9mn boxes of apples into Hong Kong and China in the 2008-09 sales season and that could double if "we had full varietal access," Fryhover said. Under the prevailing agreements, Washington can export Red and Golden Delicious apples directly into China, but Gala, Granny Smith and any other varieties are not allowed. And these varieties reach China through the grey market route of Hong Kong.

According to the WAC figures, India’s appetite in the last five years increased significantly to 1.75mn boxes of Washington apples in the 2008-09 sales season. Higher buying power and lower quality of domestically sourced apples were the major factors cited as the reasons for tremendous acceptance of Washington apples in India despite very high customs duty.

Fryhover said Iraq already receives some Washington apples through Dubai, re-exporting centre of the UAE and Kuwait, but Iran did not have any such source. Iran being the second largest populated country of the Middle East after Egypt, which has two to three times more buying power than the Egyptians hold potential provided the Washington apples get direct access. Similarly, the changing trends in Iraq also will be explored through its efforts in the Middle East.

Last July, the WAC has tied up with the Arab Marketing Financing International (AMFI) to boost its presence in the Middle East. The AMFI, a Beirut-based company, with promotional representatives in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, takes up the responsibility of marketing of the apples through retail displays and consumer awareness about the Washington variety.

Currently, Dubai is the re-exporting portal for Washington apples into Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sudan, Qatar, Oman, Yemen and Jordan. And about 1.8mn boxes of Washington apples were sold to Dubai in the 2008-09 sales season.

By Jose Roy

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