December 19, 2019 8:56:32 pm
Export of grapes from India will be delayed this year as unseasonal rains have taken a heavy toll on availability of quality produce. Indian grapes normally leave for countries in the Middle East early November but this year, exports are likely to start only after January.
Unseasonal rains in late October have destroyed almost 90 per cent of ready-to-harvest vineyards in Satana and Chandwad taluka of Nashik district. Jagannath Khapre, president of Grapes Exporters Association, said grapes from this area mostly head for the Middle East and the almost destroyed ready-to-harvest crop has put a question mark on exports to these countries. An estimated 50,000 hectares of the 1.40 lakh hectares of vineyards were affected in the unseasonal rains with industry estimates pegging the loss at Rs 2,500-3,000 crore.
However, the silver lining is that exports to Europe and Russia may not be hit much. “Exports to Europe normally start in January and we expect them to continue without much hindrance,” Khapre said.
Exports to EU countries generally fetch a better price. Last fiscal, India exported 2.46 lakh tonnes of grapes worth $334.79 million. Khapre said around 1.45 lakh tonnes of grapes went to EU and 30,293.17 tonnes to Russia.
Availability of quality grapes continues to be a major concern for exporters. Vilas Shinde, managing director of Nashik-based Sahyadri Farmers Producers Company, said they are uncertain about the quantity of grapes they would be able to export. Sahyadri is the country’s largest exporter of grapes clocking over 21,000 tonnes of exports during 2018-19. “We do not expect any increase in exports but are uncertain whether we would be able to meet last year’s numbers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the paucity of grapes has led to farmers fetching good prices in domestic markets. At present, grapes are being sold at Rs 60-70 per kg while those headed outside India are commanding over Rs 100 per kg. The current season would see prices continuing in this range as overall produce would be 50 per cent less.
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