The country’s grape growers are expecting a good export season this year. According to an estimate, India is likely to export 2 lakh tonne grapes if the weather holds up in the main growing regions.
The country had exported 1.12 lakh tonne grapes in the last season and a record 1.92 lakh tonne in 2013-14.
According to Jagannath Khapre, president, All India Grape Exporters Association, nearly 2 lakh tonne of grapes are expected to be exported from the country this year. “ New markets are opening up to Indian grapes. Canada, Australia and Russia have shown their interests in grapes from India,” he said.
“Harvesting has begun at some vineyards in Nashik and some flowering has been destroyed owing to rains. Around 10% of the crop has experienced cracking. But this should not impact the export scenario,” he said.
Farmers have begun registering with Apeda under GrapeNet, the online platform. So far there have been some 25,547 registrations from Maharashtra and 31 registrations from Karnataka, officials from the State Horticulture Department said. There were some 25,000 registrations on GrapeNet for export last year and the numbers have marginally gone up this year, officials said.
From Nashik alone there have been 22,034 registrations while Sangli reported 1,035 registrations, Pune had 758 registrations, Solapur- 770 and Satara reported 326 registrations. Both Apeda and horticulture officials expect the registration numbers to go up to 30,000.
Nashik district is the largest producer of grapes with nearly 1.75 lakh acres under vineyards, while total acreage in Maharashtra is around 2.50 lakh acres. This year too, acreage is unlikely to change and has, in fact, risen by around 1-2%, Khapre said. According to him, new markets such as Russia and China also led to overall growth in grape export. Prices in the domestic market touched R30-35 per kg last year while the overseas markets commanded prices between R60-65 per kg.
Khapre said that there has been some cases of cracking of grapes after the recent spell of rains in north Nashik where harvesting has begun. However, this should not affect export as yet, he said. Around 60,000 tonne is expected to be exported to European Union .
Canada has granted market access for the Indian fresh grapes. This follows the recent Indo-Canadian bilateral discussions held in New Delhi. However, the Indian exporters will be able to take advantage of this development only from the next season. Canada will open a new market for the Indian exporters, who have been mainly shipping the fresh grapes to European countries. But Canada has imposed conditions that exporters have to register the vineyards and pack houses, and maintain traceability.
The Netherlands is the largest buyer of Indian fresh grapes, accounting for more than half of the exports, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany. The Indian fresh grape exports for the recently-ended 2015 season were down by 36%, with multiple spells of hailstorms and unseasonal rains impacting the output in the key growing regions of Maharashtra.
According to GrapeNet, the Indian shipments for the 2015 season were down at 3,288 containers against 5,108 containers in the corresponding previous year. In terms of volumes, the exports this year were estimated at 41,783 tonne against last year’s 65,611 tonne.
Maharashtra contributes 90% of total grape export. Around 70% of its grape export comes from Nashik. Last year, the Nashik and Sangli regions exported one lakh tonne of grapes to over 19 countries, including the maiden consignment to Russia.