by Indian suppliers
Clive Beddall
India's food and drink producers are putting their heads together in preparation for a "serious assault" on UK markets for organic products.
At a food show held in India this week, politicians and producers were discussing strategies for export campaigns, targeting a wide range of organic lines from mangoes to beverages.
As executives from across European nations flew in for IFE India 2002, leading producers said they had been encouraged by UK Soil Association predictions that demand for organics was set to rise in Britain.
Dr HP Singh, horticulture commissioner for the government of India, told The Grocer: "The story of Indian food exports to the UK need not always be about mangoes and grapes.
"We have a sound organic supply base, and if the European Union will give us a level playing field where duties are concerned, we could become a major all-round supplier to Britain."
In the past, the Indian food sector, while a large producer of major food commodities, has been criticised for its "inadequate" processing sector.
This has often resulted in a third of production being destroyed.
But European importers were assured by Delhi officials this week that a new national food processing policy would make it easier for entrepreneurs to set up additional large food processing schemes.
At present, less than 2% of fruit and vegetables grown in India goes to the processing sector.
One producer said: "Technology is changing our strategies.
"We want a portion of shelf space in Tesco and Sainsbury, and given that the UK currently imports 70% of its requirements, we think the organics route is the way for us to go."

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