Exports to Russia have begun in a small way this season and export to Europe may commence from January-end.
Barely 20,000 grape growers across the country have registered under GrapeNet. GrapeNet is an internet-based electronic service offered by Apeda to stakeholders for facilitating testing and certification of grapes export from India. Last year, the number of growers had exceeded 38,000, top officials of All India Grape Exporters Association stated.
According to the association’s president Jagannath Khapre, the grape crop has suffered an immense damage 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.
Although India’s traditional markets in Europe and UK might not suffer much since the season there begins late, the markets in UAE, Dubai, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Far East might get affected to some extent, he said. Normally grapes are harvested by October-end for these markets but could do so this season because of the rains.
Khapre expects export to Europe to remain on par with the previous season and had said 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 exports from India.
India concluded its grape export season of 2018-19 with a 31 % rise in export of the fruit to Europe, the most premium market. Exports to Russia, China and other destinations had increased by about 25-30%.
According to Agricultural and Processed Foods Development Agency (Apeda) data, the country’s India’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 Rs 1,900 crore to Europe, though the year-on year rate of growth had declined in that year.
Grape prices had slumped in the middle of the season for six weeks from mid-February till end of March due to oversupply last season last year. With one of the longest harvest seasons that spans from October to May, India has acquired closed to 70% of the market share of white grapes in Europe for the March to May period. 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 ones from South Africa and Chile this season. The Netherlands, Germany and the UK have turned out to be major markets this season. China, Thailand, Dubai and Canada were other major markets. Some 1.12 lakh tonne has been exported to the European Union, which includes the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. Nashik, Pune, Solapur and Ahmednagar are the key producing districts of grapes in Maharashtra.