High Import Tariff Barrier for Blueberry Export Expansion: USHBC

Keen to tap growing demand, blueberry exporters to the United States are hoping India will cut high import tariffs on the fruit.

“About 45% tariffs are a major obstacle to expanding trade,” said Raj Kapoor, India representative for the US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC).

From zero imports in 2009 to nearly 1,800 tonnes in 2020, the demand for nutrient-rich fruits is increasing every year.

In the first three months of FY22 (April to June), US exporters shipped 100 tonnes of blueberries to India.

“Processed blueberries can be frozen, dried or made into powder, puree and juice, and used in a variety of sweet and savory applications,” said Alicia Adler, vice president of global business development for USHBC.

In 2021, USHBC embarked on an ambitious program to promote blueberries not only as a fresh and healthy snack, but also as a flavoring ingredient with a variety of uses.

“The development of new blueberry products not only responds to consumer demands for unique flavor and healthy food products, but also increases the profitability of the food manufacturing sector by incorporating value-added ingredients like blueberries,” she said at a press conference.

According to a study carried out for USHBC, the number of blueberry products available in the Indian market increased by 215% to reach 224 between 2015 and 2019.

Blueberries are low in fat and sodium and provide essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and manganese, which can help the body process cholesterol. These nutrients are also essential for not only fighting common health problems, but also for boosting immunity.

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