Melbourne, Feb 13 (PTI) Australia and India have concluded a market a market access agreement to allow the entry of Australian walnuts in the huge Indian market.

According to Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, the two countries signed a market access agreement on February 6 with trade set to formally commence once the import conditions are officially gazetted by the Indian authorities.

He said in the interim, 10 trial shipments of Australian walnuts will be sent to India before the trade doors officially open.

“Many Australians don’t realise a scientific market access agreement is often the hardest part of getting access to a new market, Littleproud. Getting scientists from two countries to agree on how to stop any threat of diseases or pests being exported from one country to another can be very difficult,” he said.

“We have managed to win agreement with our Indian friends and this means our walnut growers can export their clean, green product to India,” he said last week.

“We spoke to industry through the Hort Innovation Australia prioritisation process and industry nominated walnut market access as a key priority,” he added.

“Since then our agriculture counsellor in India has worked with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the walnut industry to get this access.” Agricultural counsellors win trade outcomes and that is why we boosted the number of counsellors we have in key markets in the 2017-18 budget,” the minister noted.

The federal minister highlighted that around 1.4 billion people live in India which is over 50 times the number of people in Australia describing it as ”a huge market” to access.

India is already a large export market for Australian almonds and there is huge potential for our other nuts to be exported there also,” he said.

‘”We exported over 22.5 million dollars worth of walnuts around the world in 2017-18,” he said.

The export value for Australia’s agricultural commodities to India has risen by 329 per cent since 2013, and were worth 2.6 billion dollars in 2017.

Australia gained market access for blueberries from late 2015, which are now available in stores in India.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.