The grape season in India is slowing down, while at the same time the coronavirus is causing massive issues with infrastructure. Overall the grape season has satisfied one Indian exporter, despite the delays due to the Suez Canal blockage, occasional rains and logistical problems caused by the virus.
Samir Singh, business promoter for Indian grape exporter Mersel Foods, states that the coronavirus is spreading so fast, that a complete lockdown is inevitable: “The Indian grape season has narrowly escaped the grip of the Corona virus pandemic which has wreaked havoc on the lives of people in its second wave in India. Everyone was taken by surprise with the speed of spreading and the high level of fatalities. The infrastructure is completely overwhelmed by a sudden upsurge in demands. A complete lock down seems unavoidable in the days to come. The export volume of grapes to Europe has dwindled to 220 containers in week 15, and the loadings are going to be around 100 containers in week 16.”
According to Singh the export has slowed down, with about 150 containers left to go: “The volume of grapes available for export towards the end of the season was relatively lower this year. Yet, the total export volume of grapes to Europe has already reached 7917 containers, which is 1075 containers more than the volume exported to Europe last year. Further around 150 containers may add to the current export volume.”
The situation at the Suez Canal definitely had an effect on the Indian grape season, as well as the prices, Singh explains. “For the last month, there have been favorable weather conditions; farmers and exporters have capitalized on this loading a good volume of grapes to all destinations. The blockage of the Suez Canal initially caused the stock level of grapes to diminish in Europe, strengthening the market prices, but soon the arrival of delayed vessels at the same time has created an oversupply situation in week 15 and 16. Currently, the price for Thompson in 5 kg punnets is under pressure and is selling at 7.50 -8.50 EUR per box; 4.5 kg loose is selling at 7.00 – 7.50 EUR per box. Since there is a relatively insignificant volume of grapes on the high seas, the market prices are expected to soar from week 17 onwards. The month of May will bring good profits on sales; however, Indian grapes are expected to be exhausted in Europe by week 20.”
“Although, the season was marked with occasional rains, logistic problems, including the blockage in the Suez Canal, the unusual penetration of South African and Peruvian grape seasons into the Indian grape season, yet the overall results are going to be to the satisfaction of Indian exporters and farmers.” Singh concludes.