India is the fastest growing major economy in the world, recording 7.3 per cent growth in 2015–16, and is forecast to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2030.
And the fact that has crept up on everyone is household income in India is rapidly increasing and this is creating a burgeoning population of middle class consumers that is expected to reach 200 million by 2020. That’s correct, 200 million cashed up customers.
These middle class consumers will generate huge demand for high-quality protein-rich foods, a demand unable to be produced within their own country.
India was Australia’s fifth largest export market in 2016-17, with exports valued at over $13 billion, and we did sent over $17 billion back in 2008. But I guess the reason we are down is that most of those consumers now live in Australia, or so it would appear.
However, expect a big kickback in what is expected to be a significant market for Australian produce including chickpeas, wheat and lentils.
Add to that an expanded trade in oilseeds, edible oils, and horticulture, particularly tree nuts through increased demand for our counter seasonal Australian production.
But before all that happens, Australians will see many more mangoes from India popping up in our local markets, with a number of Indian businesses gearing up to export fruit to Australia.
Revised protocols have opened the door for Indian imports, with fruit allowed into Australia as long as it has been irradiated prior to export. The previous method of Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT) proved too costly.
It will not be the first time Australia has imported mangoes, with Mexico, the Philippines and Pakistan exporting small numbers of fruit over the years.
Robert Gray from the Australian Mango Industry Association, said the Indian mangoes would be for sale outside of the Australian mango season. And went on to say, if the fruit met biosecurity standards then the trade should be fine.
India has already started exporting between 200 to 300 tonnes of mangoes to the United States and we should expect that volume to arrive here as well.
It is expected they will be targeting affluent local consumers, with small quantities of very high-value product.
The Indian mango season runs from March until the end of July.