FOLSOM, Calif. (Business Wire) — On July 12, the Ministry of Agriculture in India published notification of Schedule VI of Plant Quarantine Order 2003 allowing California walnuts to be shipped to India. Walnuts can ship immediately with special conditions under the phytosanitary protocol defined in Order 2003.
The industry has eagerly awaited this news following a two year market access process. "India will play an important role in developing the industry's future consumers," states California Walnut Commission Chairman Donald Norene. "Opening the Indian market is consistent with our strategy of market expansion," he goes on to say. Walnut production has doubled in the last ten years, reaching 496,000 short tons this year.
India's increasingly affluent middle class, currently estimated at 250 million, is expected to reach 400 million by 2020. Unlike other developing nations, over 30% of middle class income is spent on food and beverages. Walnuts are an ideal complement to the traditional vegetarian based diet because they contain alpha-linolenic acid/omega-3 fatty acid which is currently deficient in the Indian diet.
Although walnut consumption is currently low (0.02 lbs. per capita), with the predominance of walnuts grown in India exported, the industry expects California walnuts to be in high demand. "The Indian consumer has yet to experience the quality and taste distinctions that make California walnuts unique", states Charles (Chuck) Crain, President, Crain Walnut Shelling. "The majority of Indian walnut users report eating walnuts for their health benefits. Our industry's health research program has confirmed walnuts are beneficial for cardiovascular health which is a leading health concern in India," he concludes.
The expertise of both the California Walnut Board (CWB) and California Walnut Commission (CWC) working together helped make Indian market access possible. The Board evaluated the phytosanitary protocol and supported post harvest research that contributed to the review process while the Commission petitioned the Indian Ministry in working with colleagues at USDA's Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) and Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) to facilitate the process.
"Walnuts are now the fourth leading export from the state of California, valued at nearly $1 billion dollars," states Dennis. A. Balint, CWC Chief Executive Officer. 58% of the crop was exported in 2011 to countries on five continents. California walnuts account for more than 99% of the commercial U.S. supply and control roughly three-fourths of world trade.
For detailed information on the phytosanitary protocol to ship walnuts to India visit: http://agricoop.nic.in/Gazette/PQ%202nd%20Amdt.%202013.pdf
Additional industry information, health research and recipe ideas are available on www.walnuts.org