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"Current Red Sea predicament sparks concern among exporters and growers"

The Indian grape season is filled with challenges, says Laxman Savalkar, founder and partner of Indian fresh produce exporter Magnus Farm Fresh: “In the ever-evolving landscape of the grape export industry, this year brings forth a unique set of challenges for growers and exporters alike. Post-Covid, the sector has witnessed a remarkable transformation, with resilience being the key to survival.”

For one, weather has had an impact on the cultivation of the grapes, Savalkar explains. “Unpredictable weather fluctuations have accelerated the readiness of grape vineyards for harvest. However, traditional varieties like Flame and Sharad seedless face adversity due to cold waves. Black seedless grapes are prone to cracking, and high-sugar white seedless Thompson grapes bear losses as some berries in a bunch succumb to the weather challenges.”

Next to the grapes that are exported, it seems hard to get rid of the non-exportable grapes according to Savalkar: “Our volumes are steady compared to previous season, as we delay in delivering the material. So at the moment, we are packing fruit around one week early for Europe as a destination. Non-exportable table grapes encounter hurdles as local and neighboring country markets are slow moving . Growers find it challenging to sell their produce, amplifying the strain on the industry.”

Naturally, the situation surrounding the Red Sea has a major impact on the grape exports from India, Savalkar states. “The current Red Sea predicament sparks concern among exporters and growers. Soaring freight costs and extended delivery durations create uncertainty, leaving the export market in suspense about arrivals and price realizations. Despite delays, we are still exporting to Europe as it’s our major market.”

“The Red Sea dilemma also affects the availability of empty containers and timely deliveries. Exporters grapple with worries about the overall scenario, but we remain hopeful for a swift resolution, ensuring growers receive the best possible payout. In the face of these challenges, our industry stands united, resilient, and optimistic. Together, we'll weather the storm and emerge stronger. Here's to overcoming hurdles and fostering a sustainable future for Indian grape exports.”

All in all, the situation will result in a shortage of grapes later in the season: “In the coming weeks there will be more volume available for export, but as we see, there will be a shortage of the exportable table grapes at the later part of the season. This shortage will start from the last week of March,” Savalkar concludes.

For more information:
Laxman Savalkar
Magnus Farm Fresh LLP
Tel: +91 770 915 3315