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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

In India apple war, Iran takes bite out of United States

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 28, 2013
First Published: 23:51 IST(28/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:14 IST(29/4/2013)

The rivalry between the US and Iran is playing out in the Indian fruit markets. Apples imported from the Islamic nation have taken a bite out of the market share of the popular Washington apples.

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India allowed import of apples from Iran earlier this year, and the first batch reached Delhi's Azadpur - Asia's biggest fruit market which supplies products to the entire country - in February.

"After the arrival of Iranian apples, the price of Washington apples crashed by 20%," said trader Rinkle Singh.

Apples from the US, sold at a wholesale rate of Rs. 90-120 per kg, faced little competition at Azadpur. But that changed once the Iranian fruit, priced at Rs. 50-70 per kg, sent the price for Washington apples crashing to Rs. 60-90 per kg.

Chinese apples, still the most popular import, cost Rs. 40-50 per kg, while Indian apples cost Rs. 60-70 per kg.

Trader Ranjit Singh Kohli said Iranian apples, which arrived in huge numbers, are a hit because of their size, colour and quality. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/4/29_04_13-metro01b.jpg

Because of trade restrictions against Iran, apples from the country had few takers internationally until India, which has a Rs. 50,000 crore apple market, allowed the import.

But the friendly gesture has had ramifications back home.

Virbhadra Singh, chief minister of India's biggest apple producing state, Himachal Pradesh, asked the Centre to impose restrictions on apple import to help domestic producers.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah made a similar request.

Of the total number of apples sold in India, 80% are indigenously produced.

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