Pune: Exporters Navigate Challenges to Ship Over 1.8 Lakh Tonnes of Grapes Worldwide

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Pune, 25th April 2024: The country has exported a total of 1,81,396 tonnes of grapes until April 15th. Of this, 1,31,421 tonnes were exported to the USA and the European Union, while 50,195 tonnes were sent to other countries. On average, between 90 thousand to 1 lakh tons are typically exported to America and the European Union.

As per data from the Department of Agriculture, Government of Maharashtra, between November 1, 2023, and April 15, 2024, the country exported 1,81,396 tonnes of grapes, reaching an all-time high in exports to the US and the European Union. Most of these exports are directed towards the Netherlands Holland. Additionally, 50,195 tonnes were sent to countries other than the US and the European Union. However, these figures do not include exports from Mumbai, which are estimated to be around 30 thousand tons.

Due to the Israel-Palestine conflict disrupting traffic through the Red Sea, shipments had to take a detour through Africa, leading to increased transportation costs. Nonetheless, exports to the USA and Europe have remained high this year, surpassing the typical average of 31 thousand tons. Ships primarily head to the coast of the Netherlands, from where transportation to Europe is arranged as required. However, exports to Canada have seen a decline this year, with only 15 containers sent compared to the usual 60 to 70.

Grapes initially fetched export rates between Rs. 40 and Rs. 50 per kg, rising to Rs. 60 to Rs. 65 per kg mid-season and reaching as high as Rs. 90 to Rs. 110 per kg for selected quality grapes towards the end. Despite availability in areas like Solapur and Narayangaon, unseasonal rains have damaged grapes.

As the grape export season enters its final phase, grape damage due to unseasonal rains coupled with the closure of Red Sea traffic has hindered exports. Nonetheless, the President of the Maharashtra State Grape Growers’ Association, Shivaji Pawar, believes that with uninterrupted transportation, this year could have seen record exports.

Typically, around two and a half lakh tonnes of grapes are exported annually. This year, despite transportation challenges, there was good availability of exportable grapes, particularly in Europe. However, exports to Canada suffered. Grape exporter Akshay Sangle from Niphad (Nashik) expresses optimism that by the end of the season, exports will meet the annual average, highlighting the missed potential due to transportation obstacles.