Although Indian grapes are now finding good markets, there are still some emerging markets where the varieties produced by Indian growers are not popular.
Grape growers have realised that expansion of portfolio is necessary to tap new markets. To overcome this hurdle, growers in Maharashtra have approached Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) for financial assistance. A final decision is expected either this month-end or by early next year.
Ashok Gaikwad, president, Maharashtra State Grape Growers Association (MSGGA), told FE that growers in the state have sought R40 crore of assistance to import good varieties of table grapes.
“A meeting was held with officials of APEDA this week. While funds are expected to come from APEDA, some will come from the state agriculture department and some from farmers themselves. But a final decision is yet to be taken,” he said.
At present, Indian varieties of table grapes are being grown in Maharashtra. They require a lot of pruning and are developed in around 120 days. Pruning usually takes place in September or October and most of the time, the monsoon affects the vineyards during this period.
To avoid this, MSGGA is reported to have taken initiatives to import table grape varieties which will be distributed to growers. But the process is estimated to cost R40 crore. The association has also booked six varieties from the University of California, Davis. They are expected to be delivered by January-end.
According to Jagannath Khapare, president, Grape Exporters Association of India, new markets are emerging but limited varieties of grapes with Indian farmers may pose problems for exporters.
“China has emerged as a new market and demand from there is for coloured varieties, different sizes and greater shelf life. Therefore, new varieties are needed,” Khapare said.
Around 600 metric tonnes was exported to China last season and this season the target is to touch 1000 tonne, he added.
The last grape season was good for exports; the country exported 192,000 metric tonnes. From February next year, Indian grapes will also find buyers in Japan.
Besides West Asia, grapes from India are popular in Netherlands, Hong Kong, Spain, Germany, Sweden and UAE.
Nashik district is the largest producer of grapes in India, with nearly 1.75 lakh acres under vineyards, while total acreage in Maharashtra is 2.50 lakh acres.
This year, the state has under 2.50 lakh acres under grape production. Maharashtra contributes 90% of total grape export. Around 70% of its grape export comes from Nashik.