The export of grapes from India has started early this year, with around 300 containers of the fruit leaving the shores early this month. Manikrao Patil, Nashik unit president of the Grape Growers Association, said the exports are headed towards Russia, Malaysia and the Middle-East.
Usually, the export season for grapes in Maharashtra starts early in January, with the containers leaving for European markets.
However, this year, the season has taken off already, and growers from Nashik’s Satana taluka are making the most of it. “Growers in Satana time their pruning to ensure their produce hits the markets by November or December.
Normally, their produce is sent to domestic markets but this year, most of the consignments have passed the stringent residue limits for exports,” said Patil. Export of grapes and other agri commodities are governed by stringent norms that mandate adherence to Minimal Residue Limits. Grape growers have to follow a schedule of application of various inputs during the cultivation process, so that the final produce has minimal residue of the applied chemicals. The right time to harvest the berries is decided by farmers. Satana growers start pruning earlier so that their produce hits the markets earlier than grapes from Pune, Sangli and other parts, said Patil.
He added that as far as prices were concerned, the season has started on a good note, with farmers able to command as much as Rs 100 per kg for export-quality grapes and Rs 60-80 per kg in domestic markets.
These prices are bound to fall once grapes from other parts of the state start arriving in the market in January. The quality of the produce, said Patil, has also been excellent, as climatic conditions have been favourable.
This year, grape growers from the state are aiming to increase their exports to Europe by 20-25 per cent.