One of the grape growing regions in India, Nashik, has been hit with rains and hailstorms, resulting in a lot of damage. According to Samir Singh, business promoter for Indian grape exporter Mersel Foods, the rains came on the most unfortunate moment: “The unseasonal rains and hail storms have heavily damaged the grape harvest across the grape-growing region of Nashik. The crops that were ready for harvesting were specifically affected; orchards that had the bunches paper-wrapped were more prone to damaging than the ones where bunches were open. Berry cracking is the major problem. Since the rains came during the peak of the season, the damage was massive and widespread. Around 30% of our company’s group’ growers have had their harvest affected to the extent that it can’t be exported.”
Singh states that he expects the overall grape export volumes of India will only drop by about ten per cent compared to last year. “At the beginning of the season, both farmers and exporters were upbeat about the quality and volume of grape that were going to be available for export. We were expecting to exceed the volume of the last season by a good margin. Now, since the season started late by a couple of weeks, given the current scenario, we think the export volumes will be around 10% less compared to last year.”
Unseasonal rains are nothing new to Indian grape farmer, and so Singh believes there will be no long term consequences for the industry as a whole: “The farmers are used to such events. Unseasonal rains happen every year in India, to a more or lesser extent. Some farmers are unlucky to be caught in it. However, the Indian grape industry is too robust, and there will be no ramification for the grape industry in the long run. The financial assistance from the Government, to cover the losses due to a natural calamity in India, is usually insignificant. Most of the burden, unfortunately, will be laid upon the farmers themselves.”
To make sure the grape exporter still holds up the quality in their grape exports, they will have to be extra careful in selecting the product: “Our company is extremely careful now in picking the orchards for harvesting. Thanks to our skilled and experienced team of quality inspectors, who have the microscopic viewing ability to figure out the potential for berry cracking, we continue to identify and harvest quality grapes available in the region. We will continue our packing operations until the end of the season. European market will be the main destination of our fruits. The availability of grapes in the European market will be insufficient in the second half of April and May, resulting in an increase of prices,” Singh concludes.
Mr. Samir Singh
Mersel Foods Pvt. Ltd.