Australian Macadamias enter Indian market thanks to trade agreement

"India is a great market for us. Consumers have a great appetite for nuts and dried fruits."

Boosted by the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA), Indian consumers are now enjoying premium Australian macadamias. The first container shipment from Marquis Macadamias arrived in India in September 2023, following reduced import tariffs.

The Australian Macadamia Society predicts that the Indian market for macadamias could grow to 3000 tonnes within 3 to 5 years. George Hagios, Chief Sales Officer at Marquis, concurs, citing the AI-ECTA as a game-changer.

“India is a great market for us. Consumers have a great appetite for nuts and dried fruits. It was always on our radar, but with the previous 30% tariff, the price meant we couldn’t be competitive. So it was never really viable before.”

Marquis Macadamias, a grower-owned company, processes over 28,000 tonnes of nut-in-shell annually, making it Australia’s largest grower and marketer of macadamias. The industry, while still small, is rapidly expanding, with global production set to double in the next 5 to 10 years.

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India, already a significant consumer of nuts, shows promising potential for macadamias, which are currently seen as luxury snacks and festival gifts. The recent Australian Macadamia Festival in Mumbai showcased the versatility of macadamias, featuring dishes from chocolates to curries.

Hagios adds:

“As an exporter, we need import partners to see a future for the product in their market, to make it worthwhile for them to invest as well. Even as a luxury product, the price had to be within reason.”

The AI-ECTA has significantly reduced tariffs from 30% to 17.1%, with a progressive decrease to zero by 2028. This has made macadamias more affordable and attractive to Indian importers and consumers. Austrade’s support has been crucial in navigating trade regulations and fostering partnerships.

“Austrade’s introductions to Indian counterparts helped with some of those challenges. The trade agreement itself also sends an important signal that our governments want to work together. And that flows down through the layers of authority.”

With India’s large nut consumption, especially during festivals, and a growing interest in plant-based diets, the potential market for macadamias is vast. Hagios says:

“Australian macadamias can be an ingredient in foods ranging from confectionary to traditional Indian cuisine, salads, sauces, oil and nut milks. That also brings opportunity for Indian companies to add value by further processing product locally.”

Marquis is focused on meeting initial demand and building a supply pipeline, confident in the long-term growth of the market.

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