Chilean influx turns Indian grape exports to Europe bitter; rates fall to Rs 40-45 kg

By: | Published: March 9, 2017 4:01 AM

Indian grape exporters have slowed down European consignments for a few days, thanks to the heavy influx of Chilean grapes into the market. The European market is the mainstay of Indian exporters.

According to top officials of the All India Grape Exporters Association, Chile has not had a consi- derable presence in the European market for the past four-five years.

Indian grape exporters have slowed down European consignments for a few days, thanks to the heavy influx of Chilean grapes into the market. The European market is the mainstay of Indian exporters.

According to top officials of the All India Grape Exporters Association, Chile has not had a consi- derable presence in the European market for the past four-five years.

However this time, with Chile having an early season, the European market has become overcrowded, leading to a crash in rates, said Gagandada Khapre, president of All India Grape Exporters Association.

According to Khapre, while India has crossed the 50,000- tonne export mark to Europe, hiccups developed when Chile began sending the produce to Europe.

Rates have fallen and, as a result, exporters are getting cheaper rates of barely R40-45 per kg. This has led to a price fall even in domestic markets, he said.

Khapre, however, believes that this is a temporary phase and exports are likely to pick up after March 20. The Chilean season lasts only till March end and Indian shipments will continue till April, he said.

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“Indian shipments have not stopped completely. However, around 100 containers are being sent out everyday against the expected targets of 125 containers. Therefore, there has been a slight drop in shipments,” Khapre said.

Earlier, the association had predicted that the country’s grape exports would rise significantly this season, owing to bad crop conditions in Chile – one of the largest exporters of grape.

Last year, India had exported around 85,000 tonne to Europe and this year as well, India will be on target, he said.

The country has already crossed the 1 lakh-tonne mark as far as exports to other countries are concerned, he said, adding that Indian grapes have already reached Bangladesh and Russia, among other markets.

Khapre said that around 1.92 lakh tonne has been the peak of Indian grape exports and the country is likely to cross this mark this year due to good monsoons and good weather conditions in the growing regions. The table grape crop in Chile was expected to suffer a loss of 15% to 20% due to unfavourable climate and the devastating impact of El Nino. But that did not happen. Additionally, some 1,200 tonne grapes have been exported to the Middle East, Russia and Bangladesh. Moreover, a trial export shipment to Australia is likely to happen this season.

Khapre had said that at least one lakh tonne grape is likely to be exported to Europe this season. Last year, around 85,000 tonne was exported to Europe. The climate is better this year and we are expecting around a 15% rise in export, he said.

The grapes exported so far are from early grape harvest in Satana belt of Nashik district. The regular export season is expected to begin from mid-January and from Nashik district it is expected to touch 1.25 lakh tonne, Khapre said.

According to senior officials from the horticulture department, there is a huge demand for black grapes in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Till date, exports to the Netherlands have been maximum to the tune of 492 tonne, followed by Italy at some 32 lakh tonne.

Since 2004, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority has made registration of vineyards compulsory for farmers wanting to export their produce to promote quality grape production.

The areas under grape plantation for export has increased 30.69% during the current season. Around 38,128 grape farmers have registered a total area of 56,200 acre for export for 2016-17. Last year, (2015-16), around 26,000 farmers had registered a total area of 43,000 acre in the district.

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