The country’s grape exports have seen a 40% drop this year. This season grape exports touched 1,80,000 tonne as compared to 2,31,000 tonne the previous year, Grapes Exporters’ Association of India (GEAI) has said. The yield this year was 40-50% less than last year. Significantly, grape exports to Europe reduced by around 9,000 tonne to 92,500 tonne from 1,07,000 tonne last year. Adverse climatic conditions were blamed for the lower export this year by industry people.
According to Jagannath Khapre, president, Grape Exporters Association of India (GEAI), unseasonal hailstorm and rainfall in September badly affected the area of around 60,000 hectares under cultivation in Nashik. The figures are still being compiled but the crop was affected this season which in turn also affected grape export.
However, we are happy that grape export to Europe barely dropped by around 9,000 tonne as we still await final figures, he said. Moreover the late start of the season in Europe also affected export, he pointed out. Khapre said that export data to other countries is not available but is approximately double the exports to Europe and the UK. However, he emphasised that though exports were less than last year, comparatively they were better for farmers.
Like Europe, other countries that import grapes from India, including China, Indonesia and Russia, have decided to issue stricter residue monitoring plan (RMP) norms to the country. Next year onwards, the government has decided to issue certificates to exporters to these nations as well so that exports do not face any hurdles.
Last year, India exported around 15,000 tonne of grapes to Bangladesh, senior officials from the Maharashtra Horticulture Department had said earlier. Although Bangladesh has been imposing duties, this time the taxes have been raised to the tune of Rs 55 per kg and therefore grape growers and exporters have approached the Centre looking for involvement from the government to confirm that these do not rise further, Khapre said. The grapes are taken to Bangladesh by road from Kolkata by local exporters.
India has been attempting to make inroads into new export markets such as China, Russia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. However, these countries have now decided to come up with norms for Indian grapes. Some of the norms are stricter than those set by the European Union.
A couple of years ago, the EU had agreed to retain the residue levels of chlormequat chloride (CCL), a plant growth regulator, at 0.05 parts per million (ppm), for a period of two years. Back ago in August in the same year, the EU had advised changing the pesticide residue levels in grapes to 0.01 ppm, causing unrest among Indian exporters.
The relaxation by the EU remains valid for the coming season as well. Officials stated that the 38,000 vineyards have been registered under Grapenet feasibility reports that will be prepared for other nations so that grapes from India do not face any residue related issues.
So far this season, around 3,000 tonne have been exported to China and about 1,500 tonnes to other nations such as Russia, Malaysia and Singapore. Last season, India exported 27,554 tonne to Russia, which is one the biggest markets for the country.
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