Grape exports from India face uncertainties in EU market

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Grape exports from India face uncertainties in EU market

Grape exporters from India may see a fall in shipments to Europe due to the recent lockdown after detection of a new Covid-19 strain, which creates uncertainty for the season that is set to start next week.

Indian grape growers work with both supermarkets as well as wholesale traders, with the former making up 60 percent of exports.

“The season is set to start on January 15, our members have orders [from retailers], but we do not know how the season will pan out,” Jagannath Khapre, president of Grapes Exporters Association of India told The Indian Express.

The exports destined for supermarkets are not as big of a worry as they won’t face problems in terms of sales, he said. 

The unorganized retailers are of some worry, “as with the lockdown in India, the unorganized retailers would be out of business and thus the grapes headed for them would not find a market”.

Grape exporters are looking to the domestic market to make up for potential losses, even though the prices are better outside of India.

Last year, 95,000 tonnes of grapes went to the EU, which was a decrease from the 1.25 crore tonnes exported in 2018-19.

“The scenario is difficult for grape business this current year. Export of grapes to Europe during 2020 had reduced by around 25% over the past year, Vilas Shinde, chairman and managing director of Sahyadri Farmers Producers Company told Krishi Jagran.

“It’s possible that exports may further decline by between 10 to 15 percent,” he said.

The cost of shipment has increased as well, which he believes will harm prospects even after they requested that shipping companies do not increase rates, as the industry “would collapse”.

Although Shinde sees potential for a decrease in exports, he said the lockdown would not have a drastic impact on the exports.

“Unlike last year, vaccines are available now, and as vaccinations increase, life will come back to normal. We do not feel there will be large-scale disruptions in the markets,” he said.

The demand from hotels, restaurants and other out-of-home consumption segments have not recovered either, according to Shinde.

Though the grape season has been delayed due to heavy rainfall, the quality has proven better than in years past.

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