Virginia firm signs deal to export apples to India

Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) As part of a state push to pursue trade opportunities and new investments in India, a Virginia state company has signed a deal for export of Virginia apples with a major Indian importer.

The deal between Virginia’s Crown Orchard Company of Covesville and India’s IG International was witnessed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in Mumbai during his just concluded trade and marketing mission to the Middle East and India.

“The deal is a significant development that strengthens Virginia’s partnership with one of the world’s largest economies and population bases,” according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“After opening the Indian apple market for Virginia producers last year, it was important that we continue that momentum and push hard to expand those sales,” McAuliffe said announcing the new sale into the highly competitive Indian produce market.

“Export deals like this one play a vital role in generating additional revenue and jobs for the Commonwealth and are critical to my work to build a new Virginia economy,” he said.

Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe visited several Mumbai fruit and vegetable markets with IG International leadership to promote the growing Virginia apple trade with India.

“We have focused on India as an important strategic market for Virginia agricultural and forestry products since launching the export growth initiative in 2011,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

“Virginia has emerged as the second largest apple exporting state to India, and we are working continuously to drive more sales and make new introductions between our producers and Indian apple importers.”

Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia reached a record high of $3.35 billion in 2014. While currently a relatively small market for these products, the Indian market is growing and holds strong potential for Virginia’s agricultural and forestry industries.

For example, exports to India were just over $5 million in 2013 and last year were valued at more than $6 million. In 2014, Virginia exported about $1.6 million in apples to India, up from zero in late 2011, when Virginia opened its representative trade office.

As of September of this year, Virginia has exported $1.2 million in apples to India. Exports to India in 2014 represented more than half of the state’s total apple exports worldwide, while the year-to-date sales as of September to India account for more than 60 percent of this year’s total apple exports.

“India was a very important new export market for us in 2014, and we are pleased to expand sales there for our 2015 crop,” said Henry Chiles, owner of Crown Orchard.

“Virginia apples are already earning a solid reputation amongst Indian produce buyers for their high quality, sweet flavour and overall value,” said Tarun Arora, CEO of IG International.

“Apples are in high demand in India, and I am pleased to have found a great new source for quality apples in Virginia and the Crown Orchard Company,” he added.

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