New Delhi: Apples, the most heavily consumed imported fruit in India, may lose their shine as the rupee's depreciation affects imports, a report said.
"A continued decline of the rupee against the dollar could affect importer and consumer appetites for imported fruit (apple) during 2013," the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its latest report.
India, the world's third-largest producer of apples, faces a local supply gap due to seasonality, geographical separation and limited infrastructure amid rising demand from an expanding middle class. The US agency also projected that the production of apples in India may come down in 2013.
Depreciation in the rupee, which hit an all-time low of 65.56 against the dollar last week, makes imports costlier.
India's apple imports have increased ninefold to 1,86,387 tonnes last year from 20,093 tonnes 10 years ago. Imports in 2012 were valued at USD 196 million, the USDA report added.
Assuming normal weather conditions, USDA forecasts India's apple production at 1.85 million tonnes in 2012-13 compared with last year's 2.2 million tonnes.
Apple production in the country is limited to the hilly states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. India imports the fruit from the US, China, Chile, New Zealand, Italy, Iran and Afghanistan, among others.