Maharashtra’s grape growers are in a tight spot with the export of about 35,000 tonnes stuck due to the coronavirus spread.
This month, as of Friday, March 20, Maharashtra has exported over 74,000 tonnes of grapes to various countries, compared to 89,000 tonnes in March 2019. The maximum number of grape consignments have gone to the Netherlands (48,000 tonnes) followed by the UK (9,800 tonnes) and Germany (8,835 tonnes). In 2018-19 the Netherlands, Russia, the UK, Bangladesh and Germany were major grape export destinations.
“Almost 30 per cent of the grapes are still in the fields. This would amount to about 25,000-30,000 tonnes of export-quality grapes. We are closely watching developments and hope that the coronavirus spread will not affect grape exports,” said Vilas Shinde, Chairman and Managing Director of the Nashik-based Sahyadri Farms. Sahyadri is one of the leading exporters of grapes. Lockdowns and depleting demand for grapes abroad is also a cause for concern for farmers. The demand in supermarkets in the UK and Germany has gone down drastically, according to exporters.
Adding to their worries, hailstorms and heavy downpours in parts of Marathwada, western and north Maharashtra, where grape cultivation is concentrated, have already damaged grapes.
No. 1 producer
Maharashtra ranks first in India in terms of production, accounting for more than 81 per cent of total output. Other major grape-growing States include Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Per data on the APEDA website, Karnataka has exported 91.260 mt.
In India, grapes are cultivated on 1,23,000 hectares, occupying 2.01 per cent of the total area in the country. India is also a major exporter of fresh grapes. The country has exported 2,46,133.79 tonnes of grapes valued at ₹2,335.24 crore in 2018-19, per the APEDA data.