Agri Business

Govt relaxes curbs on apple imports, opens more ports for shipments

V Sajeev Kumar Gayathri G Kochi/Chennai | Updated on January 19, 2018


Move will result in increased availability of the fruit and ease prices in domestic market

Apple importers can now heave a sigh of relief with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) amending its earlier order on port-wise restriction of the fruit.

The DGFT, in its notification dated January 12, has revised its policy allowing apple imports through seaports and airports in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Kochi; and the airport in Delhi.

The import of apples is also allowed through India’s land borders.

This move would help in increasing availability of the fruit in the domestic market and ease its prices.

It may be recalled that the DGFT, through a circular in September last year, had allowed imports of apples into the country only through Nhava Sheva Port in Maharashtra , purportedly to protect the interest of domestic producers.

Following the curbs, there was a hue and cry from fruit importers especially from South India due to increase in transportation cost for cargo movement.

They had approached the Kerala High Court seeking legal remedies and obtained a stay on the DGFT notification. Subsequently, the Kochi Port in December, recorded the arrival of 50 tonnes of apple imports from China and more imports are expected this month.

Figures from the Statistics Department of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed that 4,598 tonnes of apples were imported through Kochi in 2015 alone.

CS Kartha, the Chamber President said that the trade body had taken up the matter with the Union Commerce Ministry requesting for a relaxation for Kochi Port in view of the possible price hike of apples in Kerala.

According to the trade, Kerala has to depend more on imports of superior grade apples to meet the requirement of visiting foreign tourists.

Apple imports happen throughout the year while domestic produce is only seasonal which itself makes domestic apples more expensive.

Kochi Port had alone handled nearly 13,735 tonnes of apple imports in 2014 mostly from the US and Australia, they pointed out.

India is the world’s largest third producer of apples and the country imports the fruit from the US, China, Chile, Fiji, Iran and New Zealand. Data from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) point out that apple imports stood at 1.97 lakh tonnes valued at ₹1,388.72 crore in 2014-15 fiscal against 1.75 lakh tonnes valued at ₹1,176.03 crore in fiscal 2013-14.

For the period of April-September 2015, India’s apple imports stood at $153.6 million.

A Chennai-based importer said that more than 50 per cent of the imports in the country take place through Chennai Seaport. Up to 47 per cent of the imports are routed through Nhava Sheva Port and the rest through Kolkata, Kochi, Krishnapattnam, Kattupalli, Tuticorin and Delhi Air Cargo.

Published on January 13, 2016

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