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The Washington Apple Commission has launched a new program designed to increase apple sales in the Indian cities of Chennai, Coimbatore and Bangalore. The program, "Washington Apples Banaye Aapko Maalamal Weekly," promotes the consumption of fresh apples in southern India.

"The goal of the campaign is to try to create excitement around Washington apples," Rebecca Baerveldt, export marketing manager for the commission, told The Produce News March 31. "One of the challenges we face in India is that 90 percent of apple sales are through small roadside vendors."

The program targets retailers and wholesalers that move fresh apples in the region. "What we can do is to incentivize these market segments," Ms. Baerveldt said.

Each person who purchases a box of apples will be eligible for weekly drawings for a variety of prizes during the promotion. The program will conclude in May, and a "mega draw" will be held at that time.

According to Ms. Baerveldt, apple consumption in the Indian market has been developing for the past eight years. Red Delicious is widely consumed, and other varieties, such as Golden Delicious and Gala, are gaining in popularity.