Ranked sixth-largest market for USA Pears, India imported 108,000 boxes worth $3 million last season.

Pear Bureau Northwest that supports about 900 pear growing farmers of the US, plans to double pear exports to India to 220,000 boxes (of 20 kg each) in next 2-3 seasons as it widens reach to tier-II and -III cities through the tie-up with almost all the large modern trade retail chains including Future Group, Reliance Retail and Aditya Birla Retail.

On the supply side, it has tied up with 15 large importers to market and distribute the fruit across India. Pear Bureau will invest about $200,000 to $300,000 this season in training retailers on the nitty-gritty of handling the fruit while in transit and cold storage besides spreading awareness and advertisement campaign.

USA Pears are grown in Oregon and Washington where the right mix of volcanic soil, clean mountain water and warm spring and summer days with cool nights combine to produce world's finest pears.

The Northwestern region of the US grows about 21 million boxes of pear a year. However, production has dropped in last few years due to change in climatic conditions. It recorded output of 18.7 million boxes last season and expected it to fall further to 17.5 million boxes this year. The region exported about 6.5 million boxes last year with Mexico accounting for half of its shipments. Ranked sixth-largest market for USA Pears, India imported 108,000 boxes worth $3 million last season.

Specialised training programmes

Pear Bureau plans to conduct specialised training programmes for large retailers and potential vendors from Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Jeff Correa, Director (International Marketing), Pear Bureau Northwest told BusinessLine that the growth in logistics facilities and availability of cold storage houses in India has been tremendous and the reach of modern retail has been the icing on the cake.

The biggest challenge for the US now is to ramp up pear production to meet the growing demand in small cities and keep the supply chain well oiled, he added.

In fact, USA Pears complements the Indian pear season which ends in September and the USA Pears arrive in market from October giving Indian consumers more choices, he said.

USA Pears sells at a premium as it attracts an import duty of 26.5 per cent. Pears in India are grown in northern belt mainly in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir.