“The first consignment of 33 tonnes of Indian grapes has already been dispatched to China and is expected to hit Chinese ports by January 15. We are looking to double our grapes export to China this year. Chinese buyers are looking at India as a potential supplier after lower grape imports from the United States,” said U K Vats, General Manager, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda).
China, which is not a producer of grapes, meets its entire demand through imports from India and other major producing countries.
Australia, on the other hand, is both a producer and consumer of grapes. Its citizens consume grapes in fresh and processed forms like juice and wine. Despite the immense potential, however, India does not view it as a major market. Australia imports grapes from various countries to produce high quality wine for exports, which generated $2.56 billion of foreign currency in 2017. In volume terms Australia exports around 811 million litres (for 2017) of wines a year.
“Maharashtra is the major grower of grapes. Shipments from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in the state to Australia take more than twice the time needed for the merchandise to reach China. Hence, Indian exporters would require to take optimal care of quality while exporting the fruit to Australia,” said an exporter.
To intensify grapes exports, the Indian government, in association with Apeda, organised roadshows in many countries including China and Australia with free sample distribution, and quality and health benefit education to consumers in the potential markets. Responding to that effort, the Australian government set a quality and pest risk management standard for grape imports from India and finally opened its market to Indian merchants beginning this season.
“The import conditions for Indian table grapes to Australia have now been uploaded to the Australian Government’s Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) database. This completes the Australian government’s import risk assessment process and trade can now commence. Australia looks forward to the first shipment of Indian table grapes in the coming months,” said Peter Creaser, Assistant Systems and Strategies Biosecurity Plant Division, Government of Australia.
“Some exporters may try small consignments on trial basis. But, grapes exports to Australia would not be possible on a sustained and long term basis,” said a senior industry official.