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India may see bumper grape output this year


PUNE: Harvest of early season grapes has started in Maharashtra, the largest grape producing and exporting state. With conducive weather, the country is likely to see bumper production and record exports. “So far, the weather has been conducive. We expect a bumper grape crop this year,” said Vilas Shinde, chief executive officer of Sahyadri Farms, the largest corporate exporter of grapes in India.

Though grapes will begin trickling into the domestic market from November, peak arrivals will come in only from January.

However, some farmers from Nashik district, the wine capital of India, have started taking early harvest of the fruit for selling to some northern states as well as for exporting it to Bangladesh.

Indias grape export story has been achieving a new milestone every year as farmers produce fruits adhering to the strict phytosanitary measures prescribed by the European Union. “We expect to export at least as much grapes as we exported the previous year, if there are no measures or weather-related aberration,” said Jagannath Khapre, president, Grape Exporters Association of India.

However, Shinde of Sahyadri fears that prices in the domestic market could be under pressure during peak season. Apart from Sahyadri, the farmer-producer company, Mahindra Agribusiness and Freshtrop Fruits are the other corporates in grape exports. India had exported 92,286 tonnes of grapes in 2017-18 to European Union as against 1,01,789 tonnes of grapes in 2016-17.

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