Maharashtra’s grape farmers have had a good export season this year, with more than 1.91 lakh tonne of grapes being exported this season and a 20% rise in exports reported from the state.
Till date, around 7,480 containers from various grape-growing regions in the state have been exported, a total of around 1.910 lakh tonne, with the Nashik region commanding an 80% share in exports. Maharashtra State Grape Growers Association general-secretary Kailash Bhosale said that the container figures could go up to 8,500 and this could be a record-breaking season for the state.
Indian grapes competed with grapes from South Africa and Chile this season. The Netherlands, Germany and the UK have turned out to be major markets this season, according to people in the industry. Until now, about 28,473 tonne has been exported to non-European countries, officials said, adding that 23,000 tonne has been exported to Russia alone. China, Thailand, Dubai and
Canada were other major markets. This season, some 1.12 lakh tonne has been exported to the European Unjoin, which includes the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. In 2016-17, the total exports from the state were around 1.31 lakh tonne and with the season likely to continue till April 15, exports are likely to cross this figure, he said.
Bhosale said that most exporters keep grapes in cold storage and are gradually releasing containers as per market demand. In the last 10 days, prices have also firmed up in the domestic market, he said, adding the Sonalika variety of grapes is now selling at above `50 per kg.
Indian exporters had come faced some issues in the middle of the season, with Russia and Sri Lanka demanding pest-free area certificates. According to exporters, containers from India were lying uncleared for weeks in the port of St Petersburg. Bhosale said that the issues had been sorted out, because of which Russia has turned out to be a major market for India this season. Russia is among the largest importers of grapes.
Exports are likely to surpass the previous year’s level as there is a rise in the output of export-quality grapes this year, following conducive weather in key growing areas of Maharashtra.
Nashik, Pune, Solapur and Ahmednagar are the key producing districts of grapes in Maharashtra.