PUNE: Grape cultivators in the State have been fearing a 30 to 35 per cent reduction in the export of the fruit owing to extended rainfall in the State. Already reeling under the losses of crop damaged, the cultivators said that the export seasons starts by the beginning of January.
However, due to the extended rainfall in the State, the export of the fruit will be delayed by a fortnight. Interestingly, for 2018-19, there was a record in grape export which was around 2.34 metric tonnes (MT) of which, 1.21 lakh MT was exported to Europe alone.
“The export of grapes normally starts by January 15. It will be delayed by 15-20 days. Due to extreme climatic condition, we need some time to monitor the remaining crop and make it fit for export,” said Govind Hande, Technical Advisor, Agri Export Cell, Commissionerate of Agriculture.
“Interestingly, 70 per cent of the total export is from Nashik district and grape orchards have been damaged due to rain. Therefore, the export of grapes will be reduced by 30 to 35 per cent,” said Hande.
He further said that the picture will be clearer in a month as it depends on how the remaining orchards were maintained by the farmers and how they have controlled the residue on it. “It also depends on the severity of winter season as extreme winters are also not good for the crop,” Hande said.
Hande also mentioned that there had been no export of the early variety of grapes. “For the last few years, the export quality of the early variety of grape comes in November and December. But due to rain this year, it destroyed the early crop. The majority of the early grapes comes from Nashik and Narayangaon,” he said.
As per the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), a total of around 113.692 MT of grapes were exported from Maharashtra till November 28, 2018, while for 2019-2020, no export was registered yet.
Khanderao Shewale, a vineyard owner, said, “In my vineyard, I have the early variety of grapes and almost 90 per cent of the crop was damaged due to the rains. The export of early grapes begins from October onwards which did not happen this year. Last year, I exported around 10 containers of grapes, while this year, I could not manage to export a single container and incurred a loss of Rs 1.5 crore.”
Hande said that the registration for the export has begun and till now, around 3,333 plots have been registered.
Sopan Kanchan, President of All India Grapes Growers Association, said, “The export of grapes will definitely be affected by 30 per cent as there has been no export of the early variety of grapes. However, the picture for the export will become clearer in a month. Due to extreme temperature and climatic conditions, many farmers have been facing problems.”