India closed its grape export season of 2018-19 with a 31 per cent rise in export of the fruit to Europe, the most premium market. Exports to Russia, China and other destinations are expected to have increased by about 25 per cent to 30 per cent.
Grape growers had reported a bumper crop this year due to the absence of unseasonal rains and hailstorms. The long dry and extended winter has ensured more availability and more produce for export markets.
Maharashtra is all set to touch a record-high export of grapes to the European Union and Russia. By March-end, the state has already exported at least 8,000 containers of grapes to the EU, which, Jagannath Khapre, president of Grapes Exporters Association, said was a three year high. By the end of last season, not even 7,000 containers were exported.
Grape growers had reported a bumper crop this year due to the absence of unseasonal rains and hailstorms. The long dry and extended winter has ensured more availability and more produce for export markets. The season had also started early with growers of Satana region sending their produce as early December. Normally, exports to European markets start by January and continue till mid-April.
Availability of the quality produce and remunerative prices have pushed the export graph. A majority of the season saw farmers selling their produce in the range of Rs 40-50 per kg, which was a good price to compete in international markets. European markets are much sought after by grape exporters due to the better prices there.
Other than European markets, Indian grapes also reach the shelves of markets in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other countries. This year, exporters have also sent their produce to Chinese markets but more efforts are needed to breach the iron curtain. In terms of volume, the season has seen as much as 20 per cent rise in exports to European markets, but price-wise, farmers did not see much change.