Chennai, Nov. 13
AUSTRALIA has announced the launch of a five-year initiative aimed at giving its food products more presence in the retail markets in India, its Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mr Peter McGauran, has said.
The initiative, that expects to spend about Rs 40 crore in the first two years, will seek space for Australian products in various supermarkets in India and be managed by the National Food Industry Strategy (NFIS) Ltd and Austrade, the Minister told newspersons here on Sunday.
"With approximately 300 shopping malls proposed for construction in India in the next few years, it presents a significant opportunity for Australian food producers to offer Indian retailers a range of our world-class products," Mr McGauran said.
Australia estimates India's annual food and beverage market at $135 billion (Rs 6 lakh crore), growing at 5 per cent a year.
Australia's food and beverage exports to India last year were worth $50 million (Rs 225 crore).
These included pulses and vegetables, apples and fruit juices, canned fruits, biscuits, breakfast cereals, salad dressings, wine and honey.
Mr McGauran said that he had met the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, in New Delhi and the two had agreed to accord "very high priority" to the issues of market access for Australian dairy and meat products and exports of Indian mangoes to Australia. (India has been facing constraints in exporting mangoes due to Australian quarantine regulations.)
Mr McGauran said that these issues would be resolved on the "basis of science".