Report from India mission

There are 300 million good resaons for Australia's pulse industry to target the Indian market, according to Pulse Australia Chairman Alan Hunter.

Mr Hunter said that it was apparent that India had a distinct, premium market for pulse products and the quality assurance program is the key to gaining entry to that market. "There are almost 300 million people in India whose financial resources mean they can — and do — exercise discretion in their food purchases. This is the market we need to target." Mr Hunter has returned from meetings in India with industry, business and government leaders as part of the Australia India New Horizons Program. This included the three-day AGRO-TECH 96 in Chandigarh where the Pulse Australia mission was one of the major exhibitors. He said that modern communications techniques had been important to the development of that market. "Image and product identification are critical and need careful attention

Consumers must be able to recognise quality from the labels."

Mr Hunter said that from this year Australian suppliers will have the option to approach those markets with unqualified guarantees that our product is clean and safe. This is something which our competitors will not be able to match — at least in the short term.

"We must align ourselves with the quality, higher value end of the market and get more of our product away from the 'commodity' trade where market prospects totally depend on production in the Indian crop each year."

Australian pulse production is planned to double over the next five years and much of that increase will be for human consumption. Australian production in that sector is currently in the order of 500,000 tonnes per year.