Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Market in Delhi

      Our final day in India we drove north for an hour in heavy traffic, to the old wholesale market.  We began at the market stalls and visited many importers of Washington apples and pears and worked our way to the large cold storage facility on the corner.  This is a vast and extremely crowded market. It receives over 500 trucks full of apples every day from the Indian orchards in the foothills of the Himalayas.  The merchants are mostly second or third generation fruit salesmen.  They know their fruit. Some of them had come to the reception the night before.  All seemed pleased that we had come half way around the world to meet them and learn about the Indian market for fresh fruit.  Most were very pleased with our apples, some had specific requests or concerns.  All wanted more fruit and at cheaper prices.
     The Indian market only opened up to Washington apples in 2001 and only a few large importers were brave enough to start that year.  As they made good profits, others began to order one or two loads, or "cans" as they refer to the 1000 box metal crates carried across the sea on container ships. Some like Irfan Ahmad had only imported from Washington for one season.  He got a late start but is now anxious to develop relationships with shippers so he can get more fruit.  The men proudly led us down the stairs into their cold storage rooms where they try to keep the fruit fresh in the 95 degree heat.  We sat and drank tea or mango juice with each of them, taking photos and answering questions. I think I have enough antibiotics in me now to cover me a few more vists. A lot of good will was shared by all parties. 

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