Our Bureau

Mumbai, Jan. 10

INDIA's growing market for apples - both indigenous and imported - can expand faster with improved supply chain efficiencies that can reduce costs and deliver better consumer benefit, says a study published by Centre for management in Agriculture, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

According to Mr Satish Y. Deodhar, author of the book "Indian Apple Market - Prospects and Policies for Trade", creating competition in the marketing system by allowing importers and domestic suppliers to operate through private wholesale markets would increase the market efficiency and encourage low-margin high-volume imports, particularly into the southern parts of the country, where consumers pay a relatively higher price.

Asserting that there are two distinct markets, one for imported and another for indigenous apples, the author argues that reduction in customs duty (currently 50 per cent) would not have a significant impact on imports as such duty constitutes only 13 per cent of retail price.

On the other hand, significant rise in imports is possible through reduced margins, which is likely to occur through entry of new players in imports and supply chain business, Mr Deodhar said.

Availability of better quality apples and corresponding supply chain practices will induce growers and traders to enhance quality and efficiency in the supply chain for domestic apples as well, the author pointed out.

Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture supported the study.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 11, 2006)
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