Exports of Indian grapes saw record growth in the 2016-17 season, reaching 130,000 tons – up 39% on the previous campaign. The country’s production of the Thompson Seedless variety contributed 90% of this volume. Europe is the main markets for Indian grapes, accounting for 77% of total exports, with the UK the largest European importer. Indeed, total exports to Europe grew by 20% from last season.
However, the unexpectedly large imports to Europe of Chilean grapes put severe downward pressure on the prices of Indian grapes, causing considerable losses for Indian exporters and growers. As a consequence, from next season India will likely only export to Europe and the UK if returns are protected by their European customers; otherwise, export volumes there will probably drop. Indeed, Indian growers will be shifting their focus to the domestic market for its Thompson Seedless if the EU and the UK cease to be remunerative long-term prospects.
Meanwhile, India is set to aggressively promote its grape exports to other markets, like those of Southeast Asia, Russia and the Far East. In the long term, this will require the country’s producers to up their output of new varieties like Jumbo Seedless, Krushna Seedless, Sugraone, Crimson Seedless in order to cater to the specific demands of these markets.