Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), in association with PHDCCI, recently made a prognosis, stating that the exports of Indian grapes to China are likely to increase by 200 per cent, both in quantity and value terms, by 2020. Currently, the estimated exports of Indian grapes to China are pegged at 600 metric tonne.

“APEDA is making efforts to expand its export market to China. The collective efforts of Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, through APEDA, in association with the grape-growing states, and the National Research Centre for grapes is making efforts to improve the quality of fresh grapes. The promotional schemes of the Central and state governments will boost the export of Indian grapes and other tropical fruits,” the statement added.

Paban K Borthakur, chairman, APEDA, shared the initiatives taken by the authority to boost exports and further assess the exports scenario.

Welcoming the delegates of the three-day event which includes the Reverse Buyers Sellers Meet (RBSM) and visit of Chinese buyers/importers to the grape farms and pack houses in Nashik, Borthakur informed that on the initative of the Ministry of Commerce and Embassy of India in Beijing, and a series of meetings between officials from both the sides, it was decided to send a delegation of Chinese importers to have business-to-business (B2B) meetings in Mumbai, followed by a trust-building visit to the vineyards and pack house facilities in Nashik.

Borthakur informed that 19 companies with 25 representatives participated, along with over 100 representatives from 54 companies.

APEDA and PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the organisers of the RBSM, elaborated that India was the fruit basket of the world and provided a large number of varieties of high-quality and tasty tropical fruits.

Borthakur informed that India was among the first 10 countries in the world in the production of grapes. The five major producers of grapes are Italy, France, Spain, the United States and Turkey.

This crop occupies fifth position amongst fruit crops in India with a production of 2.6 million tonne (around three per cent of the world’s production of 77 million tonne) from an area of 0.13 million hectare.

The area under grape is two per cent of the total area of fruit crops in the country. Production is 2.8 per cent of the total fruits produced in the country.

Indian grapes are successfully grown at and above 250 mean sea level. India grows nearly 20 varieties of grapes, including coloured, white, seeded, unseeded, large and small berries. However, Thompson Seedless is the ruling grape variety, occupying 55 per cent of the area with its clones.

Major grape-growing states are Maharashtra (81.22 per cent of the total production and highest productivity), Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and the north-western region, covering Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

APEDA has been instrumental in promoting quality agri-products. As per its mandate, the authority has provided support for the required infrastructure across the country in terms of pack houses with post-harvest treatment facilities and a centre for perishable cargo agro complex at major airports. This has helped the industry to increase their exports of quality produce up to a large extent.

Considering the requirement of food safety and traceability by importing countries, India has taken number of measures by strengthening the backward linkages in the production supply chain, setting up of required infrastructure in terms of pack houses and post-harvest treatment facilities, which has enabled to get market access for fruits in various countries in the past.

According to Borthakur, the possibilities are rising for larger acceptability of Indian fresh fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, pineapples, pomegranate, bananas and grapes in huge quantities in countries, such as Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Iran, Bahrain Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Israel, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, Malaysia, Greece, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Zhong Lishan, from Guangdong China Imported food Association, and leader of the Chinese delegation, in her presentation said that China was keen to increase the import of grapes from India based on the increasing demand for grapes in China, which is at present from other destinations like Chile and the United States.

The programme was joined by V Chaturvedi,joint director general of foreign trade, representatives of the state horticulture department and NRC Grapes.

After the BSM and field visits to vineyards in Nashik, it was expected that exports will rise to about 1,000 metric tonne (MT) (approximately $2.60 million) this year, and reach a level of 2,000 MT, approximating a value of $5.2 million by next year.