Direct shipments of almonds from California to India grew by 68% from 53,965 tonnes to 90,500 tonnes between 2011-12 and 2017-18, according to the Almond Board of California (ABC).
ABC president and CEO Richard Waycott told The Hindu that the board was now targeting to sustain 20% year-on-year growth rate of almond exports to India. In this regard, he said, the focus was on families, Diwali, wedding ceremonies and the food processing industry.
“The way forward is to continue to do more research in the country,” he said, adding that ABC was active in India in trade and consumer programmes for the past 20 years.
Established in 1950, ABC promotes almonds through its research-based approach on all aspects of marketing, farming and production on behalf of over 6,000 California almond growers and processors in the U.S. Sudarshan Mazumdar, ABC Regional Director – India, said that $26 million was spent so far on research activities in the country resulting in publication of 161 papers in various journals.
“For us, India, like most of the countries, has a long tradition of almonds consumption. The only thing we are doing now is to make Indians consume more almonds,” Mr. Mazumdar said.
Post liberalisation in India, he said, Indians were getting much more sensitised to health and management of food. Also, there had been a growing number of people who could afford to have almonds, which augured well for the industry.
Addressing a session on ‘Nutrition Benefits of Almonds’, ABC Nutrition Research senior manager Swati Kalgoankar said that currently three studies were being conducted in India in the area of glucose regulation, the results of which were expected in 2019. The studies were meant for looking at how well almonds could perform in regulating glucose.
On the whole, ABC is focussing on 500 million people in India perceived to be potential consumers of almonds based on development and urbanisation of the country. It now sees an opportunity to make almonds a year-long consumption product. California is the world’s largest almond producer and exporter, accounting for 81% of the global supply, and India is among its top five export destinations. In 2017-18 almond production in California stood at 10,00,171 tonnes as against a production 80,800 tonnes in Australia, 50,954 tonnes in Spain and 15,000 tonnes each in Iran and Tunisia.