Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced new export sales of Virginia apples to India, a significant market opening in one of the world’s largest economies and population bases. Specifically, this year Virginia has exported just over $1.6 million in apples to india as of September, up from zero in late 2011 when Virginia opened its representative trade office in india.
Speaking about the new exports to India, Governor McAuliffe said, “I am pleased to announce the opening of this new market for Virginia’s high-quality apples, a direct result of our increased focus on international marketing efforts on behalf of the Commonwealth’s agricultural and forestry industries. Introducing Virginia products to emerging and important markets such as India, which has the world’s second largest population, is critical as we work with our private sector partners to build a new Virginia economy. Indeed, exports help generate revenue, jobs, and other economic opportunities right here in Virginia. We welcome these new exports and look forward to even greater apple sales to india this year and in 2015.”
The Governor’s announcement was made while hosting a delegation of Indian apple buyers who visited the Charlottesville and upper Shenandoah Valley regions to meet with apple growers and negotiate additional sales. The reverse trade mission was arranged by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and coordinated by VDACS’ India-based trade representative.
“India, which has the 10th largest economy in the world based on GDP, has been a strategic focus within Virginia’s agricultural and forestry export growth initiative launched in 2011,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “Since then, VDACS’ international marketing staff and the india trade representatives have introduced Virginia apple growers to key intermediaries who have gone on to negotiate deals with the Indian buyers, resulting in the sales announced today. With VDACS’ international resources deployed here and in India, along with the Governor’s goal of making Virginia the East Coast capital for agricultural and forestry exports, I believe we’ll see increased trade opportunities to india developing in 2015.”
Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia reached a record high of $2.85 billion in 2013. The Indian market is a relatively small, but potentially significant, emerging market for Virginia’s agricultural and forestry industries. For example, exports to india were just over $5 million in 2013 and, as of September of this year, that figure has grown by 50 percent to just under $8 million. Apple exports from Virginia to india in 2013 represented over one third of the state’s total apple exports worldwide while the year-to-date sales as of September to india account for more than 60 percent of total apple exports.
“Expanding apple sales into new markets like india is key to developing our future business,” commented Henry Chiles, owner of Covesville-based Crown Orchard, one of Virginia’s largest apple producers and exporters. “Particularly in a year like this one, where markets such as Russia are closed, we need new customers for our apples. We are extremely pleased with the ongoing support from VDACS and with the buyer contacts they have developed.”
Farm cash receipts from sales of Virginia apples totaled more than $54 million in 2013. Overall, the Virginia apple industry contributes an estimated $235 million annually to the state’s economy, according to the Virginia Apple Growers Association. Although apples are grown throughout Virginia, the majority are produced between the Amherst/Nelson County region northward through the Shenandoah Valley to the Winchester area.
According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia’s largest private industries with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually. Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry brings in more than $17 billion. The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.
More information about the Weldon Cooper Center’s study can be found at http://www.coopercenter.org/node/2/publications/economic-impacts-agriculture-and-forestry-virginia-revised-2012.