TWO NEW varieties of grapes will be in the market this year. Vilas Shinde, chairman of Nashik-based Sahyadri Farmer Producer Company Limited said this would be the first time the two varieties — Iniya 1 from Chile and Arra 15 from California — will be grown in India. However, market sources have predicted a 40 per cent dip in production of grape this year.
The season is estimated to start from the second week of January. Both the varieties, Shinde said, were being grown in 40 acres of vineyards in Malegaon taluka of Nashik. “These are well known international varieties of table grapes and would be available in the domestic markets for the first time,” he added.
He said the variety will be available at select retail outlets this year. “By next year, we aim to increase the area of production to over 2,000 acres,” he added. Tentatively, the new variety will hit the markets by early February next year.
The upcoming grape season, however, leaves little scope of profit for both growers and customers. Heavy rains in September have inflicted extensive damages to the vineyards. Manikrao Patil, secretary, the Maharashtra Grape Growers Association, estimated that the production will dip by 40 per cent this year. “Domestic markets can face a shortage towards the end of season in April,” he said.
In many areas in Nashik, growers have uprooted their vines after the roots were waterlogged. Last year, prices of grapes had crashed both in international and domestic markets, causing distress among the farmers.
Export, however, will not be hampered, added Patil.
Last year, he said, the country had exported above two lakh tonnes of grapes. This year, we hope for a 15 per cent increase, he added.