Exports of early Indian grapes have started according to Nagesh Shetty from Deccan Produce.

"There have been some rains in the early region which have slowed things down a bit, but in general it is going well and we have already shipped a few containers of early grapes to Russia," explains Shetty.

"The export started well but the exchange rate with Russia has made our grapes very expensive, we expect the season to get better as volumes increase then prices will come down and the export will pick up both to Russia and the EU."

He goes on to say that volumes are difficult to predict at the moment, India will export for a longer period this season so the peak volumes will be less but overall it will be the same as last year.

Last year there were problems later in the season, as the European market was over supplied, "It depends how exporters and importers see the situation, so exporters are being very cautious at the moment. Early season Indian grapes are not attractive in the EU due to the high price and also the quality is not up to the standard of later grapes," explained Shetty.

There will be the usual competition from the other Southern Hemisphere countries, but Shetty does not expect any new competition where Thompson is concerned, "We will be supplying more coloured varieties in the future and will become a much bigger force in these varieties."

Expanding the coloured varieties also creates possibilities to supply the Chinese market. "China is such a huge market and they like coloured varieties, there is huge potential for Indian grapes, protocols are in place, but it is a new market and we have never done this before, we need to learn exactly how to do this, we don't want to make mistakes and have shipments send back because we don't have the right paperwork."

Most Indian exporters are trying to open it up and get things in place but they are being very cautious. Nagesh expects that when things get going there will be big volumes going to China.

For more information:
Nagesh Shetty
Deccan Produce
Tel: 91-22-28346281