PUNE: The government has initiated efforts to make China open up its market for Indian bananas and pomegranates even as exporters of other fruits such as grapes and mangoes have set eyes on the Chinese market.

The Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Agency (APEDA) has started the initial process of pest risk analysis for banana and pomegranates to access the Chinese market, a high level government source confirmed to ET.

India, the world’s largest banana producer accounting for 30% of global production, currently exports less than 1% of it — mostly to the Middle East. Some corporate houses are now keen to capture the Chinese market.

“Demand for bananas has been growing rapidly in China, but the country meets a large part of it with imports from the Philippines,” a trader, who is keen to export bananas to China, said on condition of anonymity.

The second largest exporter of bananas to China is Ecuador. Pomegranate exporters too are eyeing the Chinese market.

“We are keen to get newer markets for pomegranates as the demand from some of the existing markets has declined due to various reasons,” said Prabhakar Chandane, president of Pomegranate Growers Association of India.

India has a growing trade deficit with China, which stood at $ 44.7 billion between April to January, 2015-16.

The country’s fruit growers, traders, and corporate exporters have expressed interest in exporting fresh and processed fruits to China.

China recently opened its market to Indian grapes. According to trade sources, Indian grapes and cane sugar earlier reached Chinese market via other countries.

While the trade was open for Indian mangoes, traders had not shown much interest. Last year, a few traders showed interest, but packing houses approved by China were not keen.

The authorities expect some mango exports to China during the next mango season.