The major varieties of mushrooms produced in the world are European or white-button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), Oyster mushroom or Dhingri (Pleurotus spp), Chinese or paddy-straw mushroom (Volvariella volvacea), shitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes) and Auricularia spp. Among these the most widely cultivated species is the Agaricus bisporus, which accounts for almost 38% of the total mushroom production. About 2,000 varieties of mushrooms grown in the world are edible. These varieties are grown in diverse regions of the world. The white-button mushroom is grown in the U.S.A, France and China.
The Oyster mushroom is concentrated in China, which accounts for over 80% of the production. It is also grown in South Korea and Italy. India is not a major producer of any of the mushroom varieties, but it does cultivate mushrooms. The variety gaining maximum importance in India has been the white-button mushroom, which registered the highest growth rate in production.
Only about 45% of mushrooms produced are consumed in the fresh form. The rest of the 55% is processed with 5% in the dehydrated form and 50% in the canned form. This is because their shelf life in the fresh form is very short. Hence mushrooms are traded in the world market mostly in the processed form.
Netherlands is the largest exporter of canned button mushrooms with a market share of about 38.5%. China is another significant exporter of the processed form of this variety, accounting for almost 30% of world trade. France is another important exporter, contributing to about 13.5% of the world exports.
As far as the import market is concerned, the most significant buyer of canned white button mushroom is Germany. This country alone accounts for almost 40% of the world imports. USA also imports canned mushroom, accounting for about 19% of the world imports.
Out of about 2,000 edible mushrooms known, about 280 species are produced in India. The most important mushroom collected in India is the Guchhi (Morchella species), which is dried and exported to Western countries, rather than being consumed domestically.
Domestic consumption of canned mushrooms is quite low in India, it has managed to foster exports due to the huge marketable surpluses. It was only after 1990 that the export level of mushrooms began to pick up substantially. Currently, although there are only two major exporters of canned mushroom, namely Flex Foods and Ponds Ltd. and five new companies have entered the market recently. Countries like the Switzerland and the USA have ranked as comparatively consistent importers of canned mushrooms from India in the recent years.
Cultivation of cut flowers is quite popular in about 145 countries as there is a large global market, which is as big as US $35 billion in terms of consumption and over US$ 4 billion in terms of international trade. This includes $ 2.7 billion for cut flowers and $ 1.2 billion for pot plants. The growth in demand is estimated at around 15%.
There are clear signs that India can soon play a significant role in the world trade of flowers. With the liberalization of the economic policies and identifications of the floriculture as one of the extreme focus segments for development of exports, the Indian entrepreneurs must look at the opportunities offered by the large global market.
Major importers and their share of world trade
Spain, Denmark and Belgium are considered to be front ranking floriculture countries next to the Netherlands in the European Community. Outside EC, the other important countries producing/exporting cut flowers are Costa Rica, Thailand, Zimbabwe and Turkey. Indias exports are mainly to the Netherlands, Middle East and Far East countries. Going through Dutch auctions will help India to get product acceptance and quality approval. However, the major markets is very quality conscious and has tough quarantine rules. Our growers will have to work hard to achieve the highest quality at competitive prices for taking advantage of nearness to these consumption centres in relation to present suppliers in Europe, South America and South Africa.
The largest and most lucrative market has been Europe. It is, however, highly competitive. African and Latin American countries have already entered and established their business relationship there. India will, therefore, have to put in special efforts and undertake detailed studies, develop marketing intelligence and initiate aggressive marketing. This will call for action on several fronts like maintenance of superior quality, timely and continuous supply, reasonable cost in the competitive environment and sensing the consumer demand. Also, distance between the source of cultivation and airport, mode of transport i.e. refrigerated containers, cold storage facilities at the airport play a very crucial role.
The market exists mainly during the four months from November to March-April when the production in Europe is extremely limited due to severe winter. This calls for seeking market elsewhere from April/May to October so as to ensure year round production and sale. The Middle East and Far East happens to be better avenues during this period. Also, India has the advantage of being geographically closer to these markets. So, the time taken for delivery will be less, the price will be less as compared to the European sources of these markets.
During the fall and winter seasons in the whole of Europe, snow limits the productions of flowers. Because of grossly inadequate sunlight and natural heat the investment on the facilities for flower production in Europe has been estimated as high as Rs.300 to Rs.400 per square feet as compared to India (where ample sunlight and natural heat are available throughout the year) at around Rs.75 to Rs.100 per square feet. Besides proportion of labour costs in the total cost of production of flowers in Europe has been estimated to be 25%. But, India has a great advantage in this labour intensive business due to the availability of skilled manpower at low costs.
The opportunity for export of flowers from India is large, but this can only be exploited with efficient systems and keeping a tight control over the costs. At this stage there is a great need for sharing the experiences and problems within different members of the industry. The time is right for floriculture clubs in different areas and an all India association of flower growers and exporters. We have to jointly build up the capabilities to come up as an important flower exporting country. Also, the government procedural constraints should be removed. The real competition is at the country level in the world market and not at the enterprise level within the country.
The production of processed tomato has been predominantly concentrated in the EEC and North America. These accounted for almost 75 per cent of the total production in 1992-93. USA accounts for 42.2 percent and Italy producing about 16 per cent of the world production has processed tomato.
World trade in processed tomatoes are in the form of paste, ketchup/sauce, puree and canned tomato. Italy ranks as the largest exporter of processed tomatoes, making its presence felt on the world market for all the four processed tomato items. In the case of canned tomato, Spain is another important exporter. In case of tomato puree too, Italy enjoys close to a monopoly. On the tomato paste market, while this country is the biggest exporter, Greece comes a close second. The USA does not figure on the list in any of the major items, even though it is a substantially large producer of the same, indicating that this country consumes most of its production of processed tomato items.
The major importers are USA. This is a significant importer of the processed tomato items, although its imports are less than 1% of its own domestic production. Some other consistently large importers are the U.K., France and Germany. The United Kingdom alone imported 304.5 thousand tonnes of processed tomatoes. France imported as much as 175 thousand tonnes of processed tomatoes in the same period, which amounted to 67 per cent of its total domestic production in the year. As in the case of the USA, such a phenomenon reveals a huge domestic market. However, unlike the latter which has been declining over time, the French market has shown stagnation, except in the case of canned tomato which has shown some growth, although very nominally. Germany too, figures as a major and consistent importer, and the market for ketchup and sauce in particular are growing in this country.
India is not a dominant player in the world market, whether that be in the context of production, imports or export. India's share in world production is only 0.79 per cent. However, the Indian tomato processing industry prides itself on being the largest in Southeast Asia. In fact, the output of the Indian industry is more than twice that of Japan, and considerably greater that Thailand and Taiwan. Another encouraging trends has been that India's production level of processed tomato has risen by 50 per cent.
Domestic producers of this item state that the major institutional customers of tomato paste are restaurants. The manufacturers of ketchup/sauce account for about 80 per cent of the consumption. Tomato juice and puree have not yet established themselves firmly in the middle class food habit, but the demand for ketchup/sauce is slowly growing in this massive segment. So far, processed tomato products for direct consumption have not found favour among the masses due to traditional food habits.
Processed tomato is a major trade item in the world, but India does not figure anywhere among the top exporters of any of its many forms. However, India has been exporting processed tomato in the form of tomato paste and ketchup. India does possess moderate export competitiveness on the world market for tomato paste. The domestic market is expanding, and there is also world demand for this product. Tomato paste is another item in which India possesses export competitiveness.
Exports of processed tomato from India is a relatively recent phenomenon. While exports of tomato paste only touched the level of 68 thousand tonnes as against the target of one lakh tonnes, this is a substantial jump from the base of 30 thousand tonnes. This increase of about 127 per cent in tomato paste exports between 1990-91 and 1991-92 is certainly encouraging. In terms of value, exports do show an increase of about 122 per cent. However, it is difficult to conclude anything on this basis. Since the information holds for both chutney and paste.
While the level of exports has been rising both in value and volume; India has also begun to export processed tomato to a variety of countries. For tomato paste and chutney, the USA, Saudi Arabia and Japan appear to be some major markets. Other forms of preserved tomatoes are exported in small quantities to Kuwait, Sri Lanka and the U.A.E. Of the various processed tomato items, the most important form of Indian exports are tomato ketchup/sauce and paste/chutney. As regards the exact standing of tomato paste among these items, it is difficult to pin it down, since the information available pertains to both chutney and paste.
While no licence is required for setting up a food processing unit for domestic production, the 100 per cent Export Oriented Units do need a licence to set up a unit. Moreover, these units also have to obtain the quality control licence which is valid for all producers of processed items. While the exporter is permitted to export under such a circumstance, he does need permission from the MOFPI.
While the need to import machinery for the food processing sector is acknowledged, and imports of new capital goods are allowed without any licence or clearance, there remain hindrances here too. For instance, all purchase of machinery from abroad is subject to 15-25 per cent import duty, depending on the type of machinery.
The net tax levied on glass bottles/jars is as high as 30 per cent, and those on open tin containers and MS Drums are 20 and 30 per cent. Duty drawbacks is available to exporters on the import of packaging materials. However, the impact of such a policy is attenuated because the duty drawbacks are returned to exporters after long time gaps, defeating the purpose of the reimbursement.
India has started the year well. In the first two months of the current fiscal the seafood exports stood at $ 167 million compared to $ 140 million during the same period of last year. The increase is close to 20 per cent. This time again the US demand is increasing as that country is facing a shortage of shrimps from Equador. Moreover, the shrimp prices have gone up in the recent period.