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Friday, September 25, 2015

DGFT restricts apple imports to Nava Shewa port Only

“Apple” is the fruit of the apple tree, species Malusdomestica in the rose family Rosaceae. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. The tree is small and deciduous. 

The tree originated from Central Asia, where its wild ancestor is still found today. It is grown in million tonnes – China produces 2/5th of this; US is the second leading producer. In US, more than 60% sold are commercially grown in Washington state. Newzealand exports huge quantity competing with US.

Every mother would want her child to eat  more of  green vegetables and lentils – as also fruits and apple would stand top of the chart.  Apple was often linked to health – and fruits were bought depending on how fresh they looked.  Not any longer – today people are concerned about pesticides and chemical wax keeping their sheen.

In August, the most awaited apple season in the hill State of Himachal Pradesh began with the first lot of around 10 lakh cartons reaching various markets in the country.The State, despite undergoing an encroachment removal drive ordered by the High Court, is expecting to pack around 4 crore boxes of 20 kg of apples each. Though a majority of business is carried out in the private sector, the government has also opened procurement centres. With an expected production of around 8 lakh tonnes, about a million boxes or about 2,000 trucks of some early varieties of fruit like Red June and Tydeman’s have already been transported out of the State. The fruit from Himachal reaches the  markets of Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan and even down South in Bengaluru and Chennai.

Apple is the most important fruit crop or cash crop of the hill State and constitutes about 49 per cent of the total area under fruit crops — about 85 per cent of the total fruit production, says the latest Economic Survey of the State. The apple fruit, is grown mainly in the districts of Shimla, Kinnaur, Kullu, Mandi, Chamba and some parts of Sirmaur and Lahaul-Spiti.  Indian manufacturers have been facing stiff competition from foreign countries as people buying in supermarkets prefer buying imported varieties which have more sheen !

Down under, Australian apple growers are congratulating Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce on his decision to endorse International Eat an Apple a Day. “If the majority of Australians were to eat an Australian grown apple on 'international eat an apple day' then our industry would likely seen an instant impact from that,” said Baden Ribbon, Sales and Marketing manager for Hansen Orchards, a large Tasmanian based grower. “High quality Australian apples are available all year round so there is no reason to stop having one every day.” Then there is Fuji apple, a hybrid variety, considered to be very sweet and a hit in the market.

Back home, the Directorate General of foreign Trade (DGFT) is the agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India, responsible for execution of the import and export Policies of India. DGFT plays a very important role in the development of trading relations with various other nations and thus help in improving not only the economic growth but also provides a certain impetus needed in the trade industry.

Today’s Indian Express writes that imported apples will cost more in Tamil Nadu following the notification by Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to ban import of apples through Chennai Port.

According to the notification, only NhavaSheva Port in Maharastra has been approved for importing apples. A Chennai Port official told Express the move would affect the revenue of Chennai Port, while it is also expected to have an impact on a large network of wholesale and retail traders. Chennai Port imports 5,000 cartons of apples every years.“We will take the issue up through Shipping Ministry with Union Commerce Ministry,” said the official.

Union Commerce Ministry apparently took the decision to protect the domestic apple trade - India is the third biggest producer in the world. However, port sources pointed out that the domestic apple trade was seasonal while the import of apples through Chennai Port happened round the year. “There is no reason why Commerce Ministry resorted to such a decision,” said the official.The notification of DGFT to import apples into India only through NhavaSheva Port has irked apple importers in Chennai Port.

ChozhaNaachiarRajasekar, president of Tamil Chamber of Commerce, has urged Commerce Minister NirmalaSeetharaman to allow import of apples through the Chennai Port by issuing a fresh DGFT notification, pointing out that it would otherwise involve huge rise in freight charges to transport the containers to southern states.

“Apples are imported in refrigerated containers from countries like the US, Australia and Fuji Island. If the consignments are to be imported only at NhavaSheva, then the goods should be transported in refrigerated container or trucks to Chennai and other places involving a huge freight component, pushing up the price of apples which is avoidable,” said Rajasekar. 

Concluding, there is ‘modi apple’- nothing to do with our respected Prime Minister, Sri NarendraModi.  It is a variety [or a brand] from Italy.  Their website claims that Modì® is the first apple with a carbon footprint marker (CFP), measured by the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Bolzano. Its carbon monoxide emissions are equal to 0.028 kg of CO2 per kg of Modì® produced in a fruit orchard, with a reduction of up to 49% of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere compared to other benchmark varieties under the same conditions as Modì®.  Understand that Carbon footprint is an environmental indicator that measures the impact of human activities on the planet’s climate and expresses the amount of greenhouse gases generated by goods and services. Modi is an international brand that began production in Italy with the establishment of the Modì Europa consortium in 2007.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25th Sept. 2015.

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