The California Walnut Commission has a strong focus on increasing export markets for walnuts. Right now, the focus is especially on India.

In July, the Ministry of Agriculture in India allowed walnuts to be imported into the country, which presents a big opportunity for American suppliers.

There are no estimates right now on how many loads of walnuts will be shipped to India this year but Michelle McNeil, senior international marketing director for the Folsom-based commission, said the industry anticipates shipping product there this year.

“India will play an important role this year,” she said.

The commission has begun some campaigns to promote walnuts in India, one of which focuses on the health benefits of walnuts.

McNeil said early media efforts reached 40 million impressions.

“The Indian consumer is really hungry for health information. There’s a tremendous opportunity to communicate health and nutrition information,” McNeil said.

The commission will work to promote the ongoing health research on the benefits of eating walnuts.

In addition to India, McNeil said walnuts will be shipped to several other countries this year.

Some of the main markets include China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Spain.

“The Chinese market is growing very strong for us and we anticipate that will continue. The increasing middle class and the penchant for healthy snacks continues to drive consumption,” McNeil said.