The Indian grape season is underway and volumes are ramping up as time goes on. The unseasonal rains in Maharashtra did affect supply for a small period of time, but overall the rain did not have an impact on getting the fruit harvested. Demand is strong and as South Africa and Chile drop their supply, one Indian exporters expects their volumes to increase soon.
According to Amit Kalya, owner of Kalya Exports, the grape season in India is looking rather promising, even after a cautious start: “The Indian table grapes season of 2021 started with a bit of caution, but now the volume is increasing gradually as the fruit has started to become more available. We expect season 2021 to be hopeful and promising. There was little hiccup in the early season, but we foresee a good season this year. There were unseasonal rains in Maharashtra early in the season that affected the supply in Week 50-51 when it comes to packing, but fortunately there have been no issues at all since. The rain had no effect on the fruit getting harvested, which is destined for Europe, the U.K. and other destinations. We are fortunate that the rain did not affect the fruit this year.”
Demand for the grapes is solid and volumes could start increasing soon, as supply from South Africa and Chile will wind down gradually, Kalya explains. “The demand for Indian table grapes is normal at the moment, but the volume may start increasing as the supply from other sources like South Africa and Chile get lower. There are also other factors, like the quality issue and the unseasonal rain in other source countries, which may give the advantage to the Indian grapes over others this season. We definitely think that volumes will increase from packing week 7-8 onwards until week 15-16. Also the fruit which will arrive by week 8-9 will give confidence to the importers and supermarkets at the destination.”
Naturally, the pandemic still plays a big role in how business is done. Safety measures have been implemented to protect both workers and produce: “We are still not discounting the fact that COVID-19 pandemic is still not fully control despite the availability of vaccine. It will keep the market projection still uncertain. We have taken all the precautions in advance this year to deal with the pandemic situation. There is no difficulty in getting labor, but the pack house is being run at a lower capacity to allow social distancing between the workers. As everyone is more aware about their own as well as others’ safety, workers are taking the utmost care to follow all the protocols strictly. Daily temperature checking, washing hands multiple times, using safety measures while packing the fruit gives the confidence to workers, who are packing the fruit.” Kalya concludes.