Nationals Member for Cowper and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, arranged for Australian blueberries to be extensively promoted for the first time at Australia Business Week in India last week.
Australian blueberries starred on the menu at an Australia-India dinner in Chennai, where they were tried and tasted by potential importers including hoteliers, restauranteurs, chefs and high-end retailers.
Blueberries were also showcased at the Australia Business Week in India Gala Dinner in New Delhi, where over 300 guests, including leaders in the food industry, enjoyed Australia’s best berries.
“Australia Business Week in India was a great opportunity to promote Australian agricultural produce, especially the blueberry industry, with delegates from the industry on the ground to promote the best Australia has to offer,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
In India, Mr Hartsuyker was joined by Mid North Coast local Mr Kamaldeep Singh Clair, Chief Executive Officer, OzGroup Co-op Limited, who attended the Week to explore opportunities for blueberry trade into India.
The Australian Government secured market access for blueberry farmers to India in October 2015. Mr Hartsuyker said turning that access into a profitable market means building commercial relationships and that takes time.
Mr Clair agreed and said that’s why Business Weeks such as last week are so important to continue to promote trading opportunities for Australian blueberries.
“It was great to be on the ground in Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai to research the market, explore opportunities for trade and establish relationships with key people in the food industry. India has great potential as a market for Australian blueberries.
“As the Australian blueberry industry continues to grow strongly, it is important we look to open new markets for our berries, and also take advantage of existing markets,” Mr Clair said.
According to latest industry figures there is over 265 farm business across Australia, producing over 10,510 tonnes of blueberries in 2016–17, with total production valued at $240 million dollars at the farm gate.
While in India, Mr Hartsuyker met with the Indian Minister for Food Processing Industries, Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who said blueberries are in demand, however she found it hard to find them in stores.
Minister Badal was gifted punnets of Australian blueberries which she was delighted to receive.
Mr Hartsukyer said that by the reaction to the high-quality Aussie produce across the week, at both dinners and by Minister Badal, there will be a lot of interest in developing a strong consumer base in India.
The Business Week in India is a great springboard from which to build commercial relationships for the Australian blueberry industry.