While Chile has had access to the Indian walnut market since 2014, traders have not made the most of the opportunity given demands for methyl bromide treatment – a procedure that is not required by other countries.
But last week the tides changed, with Indian authorities publishing a protocol that allowed for phospine treatment instead of methyl bromide.
“This allows us to start exporting to that country with the same structure Chile has with other countries,” said Chilean Walnut Commission executive president Andrés Rodríguez.
“This is what we take as a true access authorization for India, because only a little bit could be sent when you had to fumigate with methyl bromide.”
He added while India has a significant amount of domestic consumption of walnuts, the market was only recently opening up for imports.
“India doesn’t have a volume as high as China, but it is growing year over year and because of its characteristics it’ll become a significant volume in the medium term.”
When asked about the advantages of phosphine treatment, he said the product was common in Chile and already used for other markets. In contrast, methyl bromide treatment would imply specific production for India which complicates logistics.
“Bromide requires very different fumigation chambers than for phosphine. Also, bromide is very questionable for different destination markets,” he said, adding phosphine was totally effective in fighting the pests that threaten walnuts.
Chilenut president Juan Luis Vial said this gave Chile an advantage over the U.S. which still requires the use of methyl bromide in India.
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