Several grape importing countries have become strict on residue limits and have stopped exports in the past.
Around 30 containers of grapes amounting to 402 tonne have left for European markets in the Netherlands, UK and Germany from the country, senior officials of the state horticulture department have said.
This season, around 32,620 grape growers from the country have registered under GrapeNet — an internet based electronic service offered by APEDA to the stakeholders for facilitating testing and certification of grapes for export from India. Last year, the number of grape growers had exceeded 43172,officials said.
Jagannath Khapre, president, Grape Exporters Association, said that the grape crop has suffered huge damages to the tune of 40% because of the extended monsoons. Grape growers are under the impression that the usage of pesticides because of the rains would increase the residue limits in the crop, and therefore, many growers have preferred to stay away, he explained. Several grape importing countries have become strict on residue limits and have stopped exports in the past. This has affected the grape registrations on GrapeNet, officials of the department stated.
APEDA has therefore extended registrations under GrapeNet till January 26. Until date, around 32,736 grape growers from Maharashtra, 108 from Karnataka and 8 from Andhra Pradesh have registered under GrapeNet. Officials said that APEDA is now offering FarmerConnect Mobile App for farmers in order to provide alerts to them. The GrapeNet service has become online since November 2019 and the service is now available in 34 districts of Maharashtra.
Registrations under GrapeNet are mandatory for exporters to be able to export to the European Union, Russia, China. Hong Kong, Debai, Malaysia, UK, Netherlands and Germany. After registrations, grape growers receive updates on their mobile phones .
In addition to exports, the government also intends to promote organic grapes and the target is to register some 10,000 orchards under this scheme. Khapre said that export to Europe to remain on par with the previous season. He said that the association has demanded daily updates on the exports from other countries as well. Exports to Russia have begun in a small way this season and export to Europe may commence from January end.
The crop arrivals are likely to increase from the second week of January. Agreements with Japan, Australia and New Zealand are yet to be signed although these countries had shown some interest in buying from India.
India closed its grape export season of 2018-19 with a 31 % rise in shipment of the fruit to Europe, the most premium market. Exports to Russia, China and other destinations had increased by about 25 % to 30 %.
According to Agricultural and Processed Foods Development Agency (Apeda) data, the country’s grape exports rose from 92,286 tonne in 2017-18 to 1,21,469 tonne in 2018-19. The Netherlands, UK and Germany accounted for 90% of India’s grape exports to Europe. In 2017-18, India had exported grapes worth `1,900 crore to Europe, though the year-on year rate of growth had declined in that year. Maharashtra’s grape farmers also had a good export season this year, with more than 1.91 lakh tonne of grapes being exported this season and a 20% rise in exports reported from the state.
Indian grapes competed with grapes from South Africa and Chile this season. The Netherlands, Germany and the UK have turned out to be major markets this season.