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Southern Hemisphere Apple import season for India


India depends heavily on the Apples from the southern hemisphere just before the local apple season Kicks off in the country. The 3 major countries of import in this region for India would be Chile, South Africa and New Zealand. With European apples coming to an end India depends majorly on the apples from the southern hemisphere to suffice its demand. The country then sees local apples being harvested and being available for consumption in late July. But this season has been a roller coaster for Indian importers as well as the Indian growers. We will now analyse the reason for extensively high prices for imported apples from the southern hemisphere and its affect on the Indian consumers.

Chile apple
Unifrutti Chilean Gala apples imported by CR Fruits International

Weather playing the spoil sport

The weather undoubtedly has been the major spoilsport for the countries in Southern Hemisphere. The most major one would be the cyclone Gabriel which hit New Zealand. The beginning of the New Zealand apple harvest season saw the striking of cyclone Gabrielle which is considered to be the costliest tropical cyclone in the Southern Hemisphere so far. New Zealand had predicted a good crop season with substantially high volumes which was devastated by the cyclone. Some of the orchards were completely washed away which saw a major reduction in the quantity of apples and other fruits. New Zealand apples are considered to be of premium quality in the Indian market. They are usually priced higher and are considered to be of the most premium quality. With reduced volumes, New Zealand growers had to turn more towards the European and Chinese markets to get a better price for their product. The prices also soared very high in the Indian market as well. Chile and South Africa faced similar issues with untimely rains and floods affecting the harvesting season which reduced the quantity of their produce as well.

Turkish Apples
Ana Fruit Turkish Red delicious imported by CR Fruits International

Final shipments of European Apples

Every importer in India plans his consignments way in advance keeping in mind the transit time. The European apple imports are planned in a way that once the apples from the Southern Hemisphere start entering India, the European apple imports are reduced. Hence, with a good crop prediction from the 3 major southern hemisphere countries, the Indian importers planned more arrivals of apples from the Southern Hemisphere as compared from European countries like Italy, Poland as well Turkey. But due to the sudden change in climatic conditions, it created a havoc in the Indian market. There was no sufficient arrivals from Europe and to add to the misery most of the importers had emptied their stock of European apples to prepare for the Southern Hemisphere crop. With reduction in quantity, the southern hemisphere countries had to turn more towards European and Chinese regions due to better pricing which affected the volumes entering India.

Indian Apples take a major hit

India saw a major rise in the prices of apples from May. Himachal Apples which were supposed to be of excellent quantity for the current season plunged due to rains and floods. Cyclone Biparjoy which was supposed to make landfall in south India diverted itself to the north and carried the monsoon rains to the north. The monsoon rains which hit the northern parts of the country in late July hit them in may. This saw extensive rains and flooding which resulted in orchards being washed away and crops being reduced to 50% of what was actually predicted. This created a huge loophole for apples in India. Few importers had late arrivals of Turkish and European apples from CA storages which was sold in the country at extensively high rates. But this quantity was not sufficient as the southern hemisphere crops weren't promising. With Indian apples delayed due to floods, the Indian consumers were forced to pay a high premium for apples due to high price of the imported ones and reduced quantity.

Conclusion and Road Ahead

The coming season looks highly promising for every country. The European countries are seeing a downfall in predictions but it is specific to certain varieties. All in all Europe is looking to have a good upcoming season. South Africa is having dry cold right now which is a good sign for the colour of the apples for the coming season. Chile and New Zealand are also showing positive sign. But Climate change is not going to be a one time thing. We are going to see such issues on a regular basis. Every country needs to prepare itself. We are going to see untimely rains, extreme weathers, etc. on a regular basis and we as agronomists must find ways to sustain these.

New Zealand Apples
CAJ NZ Royal Gala Apples imported by CR Fruits International


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