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"The Red Sea situation is very critical for Indian grape exporters"

Due to the weather conditions in India, the grape season could come to an earlier close this year, says Amit Kalya, managing director of Indian grape exporter Kalya Exports: “The Indian grape's growing and developing period both have been good for all stages of growth, except for the unseasonal rains that we received during December 2023. These rains have affected the crop quality and volume for the end of March and April. We expect to have an early end of season or at least see lower volumes by April.”

Several markets are not booming in terms of demand, for various reasons. Kalya emphasizes that Chinese consumers are only spending their money on what’s really necessary. “Although we see that the crop is good, demand has been not very great at this point. Russia is receiving lower volumes from India this year, because of logistic issues and of course now the Red sea issues. Similarly, EU, which is one of the biggest markets for us, is having mediocre demand for the right quality grapes. In China, the overall market will be very cautious as the population is spending only on the fruit of the right quality and only things that are required, during their current economic slowdown. The Far Eastern market is also working on a week-by-week basis, with not much outlook.”

Kalya acknowledges the huge problems that come with not being able to use the transport route via the Red Sea, mainly causing delays and extra costs: “The Red Sea situation is very critical for Indian grape exporters, as it will increase both transit time and cost of transport. This affects us in a lot of ways, namely; we will be less competitive because of cost increase, we face a risk of quality issues as the transit time has increased and now we will face issue with logistics as we will face space constraints on vessels. Finally, schedules have also been haywire because of this.”

Exporting the grapes to European supermarkets will be quite difficult, Kalya says. “The European market has been very important for the Indian grape industry. Due to the current situation, we’re unable to commit deliveries to our supermarkets with confidence, and I hope the market will not have an irregular stock situation, which in turn doesn't help us at all. For Indian supplies, we’re still negotiating new prices as freight rates have increased. As one could expect, this has created some problems.”

“Looking ahead, we expect to increase volumes as the weather in India is getting better and India will enter a period where we have good supplies and good specs and sugar. This will be a win-win for all of the stakeholders in this process. Also, we’ll be visiting Berlin for Fruit Logistica 2024 to meet our buyers,” Kalya concludes.

For more information:
Amit Kalya
Kalya Exports
Tel: +91 9890673321