Unseasonal rain this year, damaged 800,000 tonnes of grape crop in Maharashtra resulting in an estimated loss of Rs 2,000 crore.
The annual production from grape-growing regions like Nashik, Pune, Sangli, Sholapur, Ahmadnagar and Latur districts was expected to be 2.5 million tonnes. Grapes are grown on 2.5 lakh acre (10 tonnes per acre).
The estimate, however, excludes grapes grown for wineries on 10,000 acre that have also been impacted.
A state government official told Business Standard: “The agriculture and horticulture department is in the process of calculating the actual loss to the crop and the loss to grape growers due to untimely rains. The state government has already announced a Rs 1,000 crore compensation package for farmers who have been affected by the rains, including grape growers.”
He, however, said the government may revise the compensation package once the final loss estimates were made.
Ashok Gaikwad, vice president of the Grape Growers Association of Maharashtra said 30 per cent of crop loss is going to affect domestic sales as well as exports. “This is the third successive year in which grape growers are facing a crisis. It was a hailstorm that had damaged the crop in 2008-09 followed by Fayan in 2009-10 and now the untimely rains have done immense damage to the grape crop.”
“Farmers were initially happy due to good rainfall but the extended monsoon and the unseasonal rains have changed the entire scenario,” he said. Gaikwad said grape growers were caught in a debt trap and their future is quite uncertain.
Sopan Kanchan, president of the All India Grape Growers Federation echoed Gaikwad’s views. “Due to the extended and unseasonal rains in grape growing areas, farmers have used more pesticides and insecticides. This may result in more residue affecting the export, especially to Europe and other countries where standards are quite high.” He said the state and central governments should come to the rescue of the grape growers in these trying times.