Maharashtra: Grape farmers seek govt boost to expand export markets

Over the last few years, Indian grapes have managed to make their presence felt in various overseas market. Countries in the European Union, Middle East as well as USA, Canada, among others, are major export destinations of Indian table grapes.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Published: August 26, 2018 4:34:04 am
Maharashtra: Grape farmers seek govt boost to expand export markets Nearly 10 per cent of grapes grown in India head for overseas markets. (Express photo)

Grape farmers of Maharashtra have asked for government intervention to help them expand their export footprint. Subhash Arve, the outgoing president of the Maharashtra Rajya Draksha Bagaitdar Sangh (MRDBS) — the umbrella body of grape farmers in the state — has asked for inclusion of a representative of the Sangh in the government delegations to explore export opportunities for Indian grape farmers.

Over the last few years, Indian grapes have managed to make their presence felt in various overseas market. Countries in the European Union, Middle East as well as USA, Canada, among others, are major export destinations of Indian table grapes. It is estimated that 10 per cent of the grapes grown in the country head for overseas markets.

Arve said over the years, Indian grape have lost out to their counterparts from Chile due to lack of support from the Centre. Since the last few years, Bangladesh has imposed a very heavy import duty, which has stalled exports to that country. Also countries like Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, China are potential markets for Indian grapes, but lack of bilateral ties with the government has stalled exploration of the markets.

The Indian grape season, growers say, has the unique distinction of falling between the Italian and Chilean grape seasons. Thus, the country produces grapes when the fruit is not easily available in other parts of the world.

“Bilateral treaties are necessary at the government level to ensure that the markets are open to us. We have written to the government numerous times, but it has been of no use,” he said.

Manikrao Patil, an office bearer of the Sangh, said they would ask for inclusion of a member in the official trade delegations to other countries. Last year India had seen a total export of 2.14 lakh tonne of grapes with majority of the grapes going to EU, Russia, Middle East.

A three-day convention of the Sangh, which concluded in Pune, Saturday saw experts talking about the future of the fruit and the various challenges. The meet saw the elevation of Rajendra Pawar as the next president of the Sangh.

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