India’s 2019-20 grape exports seen down 15-20% on output concerns

Tuesday, Dec 24, 2019


By Rahul Dhuri


MUMBAI – India's grape exports are likely to fall 15-20% in 2019-20 (Nov-Apr) due to lower output and quality concerns in the wake of excessive unseasonal rains amid concerns over quality of the fruit, market participants said.


In 2018-19, the country closed its grape export season at a four-year high of 246,133.79 tn, according to the data by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. Typically, Nov-Apr is the grape export season in India, one of the top exporters of the fruit in the world.


The export season has already been delayed by a month due to 20-25% damage to the output amid early harvesting of the fruit.


So far, the country has shipped out only 200-250 containers (1 container = 12-14 tn) this month. In November 2018, outbound shipments of grape totalled around 700 containers, said Sushil Bhalerao, the owner of Sushil Grapes Exports in Nashik, Maharashtra.        


"India's grape production is expected to fall by 30-35%, as untimely incessant rains and lack of sunlight severely affected the vineyards in the key growing areas across Nashik, Pune and Solapur districts," said Bhaskarrao Shinde, the owner of Krishirath Farm in Nashik.


The National Horticulture Board had estimated India's grape output for 2018-19 at 2.95 mln tn compared with 2.92 mln tn a year ago. 


"Vineyards in Nashik were hit by fungal infestation and disease, thereby hampering the grape cultivation in almost every stage of growth," said an official at National Research Centre for Grapes. Nashik is known as the grape capital of India and accounts for 55% of total grape export from the country and 75% from Maharashtra.


The state had received heavy rainfall this season as the monsoon withdrawal was delayed by more than a month and due to the impact of Cyclone Kyarr, which led to rains until early November. 


The harvest period for grapes spans Sep-Oct, during which it rained heavily in the state. The increased levels of humidity and fungal infections added to the damage, the official added.


"Due to fungal infestation, the colour, size and sweetness level of the fruit has been hampered. This could limit the export potential of the fruit," said an official, at Sahyadri Farmer Producer Company, the largest exporter of grapes.


Exports are likely to gather pace from mid-January and continue till end of April, said Nilesh Dawange, the owner Savona Agro Exports in Nashik. End


Edited by Maheswaran Parameswaran


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