By Sally Murphy of RNZ.
An apple exporter says efforts to grow demand in India are proving fruitful with orders skyrocketing.
Although they only make up a small proportion of total numbers, exports of pip fruit to India have been growing.
Ministry for Primary Industries figures show last year 5.5 per cent of apple and pear exports went there, but to July this year exports to India made up 8.2 per cent.
Golden Bay Fruit in Motueka has been exporting apples there for over 20 years.
Export manager Kylie Pratt said actively pursuing growth in the Indian market in the past couple of years was working.
"We probably only exported 10 containers there last year and this year we've done 74, so it's a lot of growth, we've gone from sending about 230,000kg to 1.4 million kg offshore to India.
"We have had a really long-standing relationship with a particular customer in India and it's a market of two halves, previous exports have all been premium-grade smaller fruit but this year they took a lot of our stormy fruit which is apples which suffered cosmetic damage in the hailstorm on Boxing Day last year."
Pratt sees the market continuing to rise, something they're working on with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
IG International, based in Mumbai, has seen 60 per cent year on year growth in sales of New Zealand apples.
Company head of sourcing Shubha Rawal said demand for fresh fruit has increased greatly due to the pandemic - with people putting more of a focus on their health.
She said there's a great opportunity for New Zealand to service the growing demand with over a billion people in India.
"The population is massive and is growing every year so consumption is increasing, so it's a good strategy for countries to have strong exports to places other than China, the way the Indian market is emerging it's good to have a presence in India now.
"New Zealand apples are known for their premium quality in India and we have been seeing great demand, we are a big producer of apples itself but our seasons complement each other well."
Rawal said this year they imported six varieties of apples from New Zealand for the first time, sold in mixed boxes and these had been popular with consumers.