New Delhi, Jan 20 () Bollywood actress Disha Patani and chef Sanjeev Kapoor have been roped in as brand ambassadors for ‘Washington Apples’, export of which from America is expected to rise by 20 per cent this year, a US government agency announced on Monday. India opened its market for the US apples way back in 2001 when only four containers were shipped. Now, the US apples have a market share of 16 per cent in India’s imported apples, according to the Washington Apple Commission.

“Export of the US applies are rising every year. Between March and July, apples are exported to India when domestic supplies in India are exhausted,” US Ambassador to India Kenneth I Juster said at the launch of the campaign here.

There are about 30-odd varieties of US apples but few of them are exported to India. “You all have many more varieties to try,” he said, adding that export of US apples have been a win-win situation for both farmers and consumers.

The Commission’s President Todd Fryhover said the US aims to export 3 million boxes of apples in the ongoing 2019-20 marketing year (September-August), up by 20 per cent from 2.5 million boxes in the last year.

Mainly four varieties of apples — Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala and Fuji — are exported to India. However, 90 per cent of the shipments comprise of ‘Red Delicious’ variety which is known for its crunchy texture and mildly sweet flavour, he said.

The US apples, which attract 70 per cent of customs duty, are shipped through sea route and mostly via Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata ports, he added.

Stating that India is the second largest market for US applies after Mexico, Fryhover said the US has lot of opportunities to expand its network here and it does not feel threatened if Chinese apples are allowed in India.

India, which produces about 75 million bushel of apples annually mainly in Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, imports about 28 million bushels of apples a year from different countries to meet its domestic demand, he said.

A campaign ‘Washington Apples Kuchh Khaas Hai’ was also launched to create awareness among Indian consumers about Washington Apple varieties, best practices, food safety and fine growing conditions that exist for growing apple in Washington.

Patani and Kapoor, who are going to be part of the awareness campaign, said they strongly believe an apple a day keeps the doctor away and it was an easy choice to endorse this fruit as they are convinced that “Washington Apples” are known for best quality because they are grown in highly suitable conditions, packed and shipped with great care. LUX RUJ RUJ

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