Last week Luciën de Wit from LuBa Fresh visited his grape partners in India and saw that there were far fewer grapes coming to Europe.
"The cause is that a lot was lost during the heavy rains of October, followed by less sunlight in the months of December and January.
As a result, with regards to the quality, this is not a top year and there are many cracked berries, glassy grapes, and the brix value has remained far too low."
"Many grapes were lost due to these factors and the volume of grapes suitable for export is also a lot lower. Smaller growers in particular have decided not to export this year to prevent risks. As it looks now, India will end up with 7,500 containers of exports to Europe this season. Last year these were 10,500 containers, so that is a drop of more than 30% and an equal of 2016. Approximately 5,500 of these containers are expected to reach Rotterdam and there were 8,000 in 2019. "
By the way, there is certainly no reason to panic, because last year there were far too many grapes on the market, "notes Luciën. "The United Kingdom and Russia in particular are showing a large drop in volume. The reason for this is that there is not enough quality available according to the British specifications and that Russia has adjusted the phyto requirements in such a way that it is not possible for a large part of the exporters to export to Russia. "
"The first arrivals from India were of poor quality, but this is getting better every week because the growing conditions have improved.
In qualitative terms, it will therefore not be a peak year, although most grapes do meet the quality standards. The size does not have to be a problem with 16-17 mm and the colouring and brix is also sufficient, but in terms of uniformity it is simply not a top year," says Luciën.
"The price that exporters have to pay to growers this year is much higher than last year. The prices for blue seedless grapes in particular (converted into € 12 in 4.5 kg and € 15.50 in mix punnets) and in the Crimson seedless (€ 2.25 punnets) are high, although they are mainly for the Swiss and German supermarkets, "says Luciën.
"The prices on the grape market have of course been very high in recent weeks, but are now declining somewhat. But the expectation is that we will get a completely different situation than last year. You can see that reflected in the prices, because they are about 50% higher towards the supermarkets than the same period last year, so it looks a lot better in terms of price. I certainly do not expect a shortage of grapes, but it will be a challenge again this year to make the right choices, "says Luciën.
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