METRO PLUS

Fresh from Australia

EVER SINCE the opening of the fruit market in conformity with its obligations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Indians have been sampling the fruits of Australia, literally. Fresh apples, pears and citrus are today available in our market.

The latest in this addition is the `Australia Fresh' apples, a brand introduced by the Horticulture wing of Australia. This brand is different from the popular `Australian apple', currently available in the market.

"Australia Fresh is associated only with Australia's best fruit and vegetables. Apples packed and promoted under this brand meet rigorous international quality and safety standards," claims A.K. Tareen, Post Manager, Australian Trade Commission.

Approximately 1,500,000 cartons (18 kg equivalents) are exported each year under the `Australia Fresh' brand. Traditionally, Australian apples have been popular in Singapore and Malaysia. However, with the decline of these major centres, India is expected to surpass Singapore as the second largest market.

But with the Australian apple industry only one-tenth the size of India's, how feasible will it be to make an impact on the Indian consumer market?

"We will focus mostly on counter-seasonal supply. Australia, which lies in the Southern hemisphere, is well positioned to supply fresh apples to the consumers even after the Indian apple season ends," explains Tareen.

Moreover, the clean and green environment, which is virtually free of many of the plant and animal diseases, makes Australia one of the world's healthiest apple growing countries, he adds.

The promotion of the brand, planned in association with India's leading retail outlets and hotel groups such as Food World and Taj Coromandel, will spread across 13 cities.

S.K

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