India tops Californian almonds import

New Delhi | Updated: Apr 11 2009, 05:05am hrs
India has emerged as the leading importer of Californian almonds due to rising consumption of the dry fruit in the country, the Almond Board of California has said.

India is the third largest export market for California almonds in 2007-08. Increase in the percentage of exports to the country reflects a rise in the demand in the country, Board associate director (Asia and Russia) Kristi Saitama said in an e-mail interview. Propelled by the expansion of the middle class and growing health awareness amongst consumers, almond consumption in India has grown steadily in the past as well as in the current scenario, Saitama said.

The Californian almond shipment has been excellent with India reaching record high export figures for two consecutive years, reaching 33,000 tonne in FY08, a rise of 24% over the previous year, she said. The almond exports to India stood at 30,000 tonne till February in FY09. The US accounts for 80% of Indias almond imports and California is the worlds leading almond producer, accounting for about 80% of the global production of the dry fruit.

Over the years, she said, there has been an appreciating trend in the consumption of almonds in India and now it holds the position of the most preferred dry fruit in the country. Spain, Germany, India, Japan and China rank as the top five export markets followed by the UAE, Italy, Canada, France and the Netherlands, Saitama said.

The US is the single largest market for California almonds, accounting for 30% of shipments, she said adding, remaining 70% is destined for 90 countries around the world. Western Europe and Asia are the two largest export regions, receiving 54% and 23% of exports respectively during 2007-08 fiscal.

When asked about the growth expectation this fiscal, Saitama said, The long-term strategy pertaining to India is to build a sustained demand by spreading awareness about the health and nutritional benefits of Californian almonds and offering new ideas for incorporating almonds in everyday life and meals." PTI