EU, Russia feeding boom in grape exports
Exports of fresh grapes are off to a good start this year with the early arrival of the fruit and strong demand from the traditional markets such as European Union and Russia.
The season has started early by a couple of weeks in mid-January and shipments till date are up 28 per cent at 15,383 tonnes as against 12,058 tonnes in the corresponding period last year.
The surge in shipments is despite the 20-25 per cent crop damage that was caused by the rains brought about by cyclone Ockhi in November-December in the key growing regions of Nashik, Maharashtra.
Jagannath Khapare, President, Grape Exporters Association of India, said the shipments, despite Ockhi, are not down because the domestic production capacity is about 35 lakh tonnes, while exports were about 2.32 lakh last year.
Khapare said fresh grapes have been shipped in about 1,170 containers (average weight of 13.5 tonnes) as against 916 containers last year. “Exports this season are expected to reach around 7,000 containers to the European Union and around 8,000 containers to non-EU markets, including Russia,” he said.
Vilas Shinde, Chairman of Sahyadri Farms, said the demand for export has risen by about 25 per cent, mainly due to the early harvest/maturity of the fruit. Exporters are buying grapes on a consignment basis.
Farmers are getting a farmgate price of ?60-70 per kg for the white variety of Thompson, meant for exports, about ?10 lower than last year. “There is a slight correction in prices for the white and black varieties, while the red varieties are fetching ?80-90 per kg,” Shinde said.
Apeda Chairman DK Singh said the exports have begun and the shipments are expected to pick up pace in the weeks ahead. More than half the shipments so far have been destined for Netherlands, followed by markets such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark.