1. Agriculture World

The Sad Plight of Grape Farmers of Nashik at the Time of Corona Lockdown!

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

Nashik in Maharashtra is called the Grape City of India. As many as 200 acres to 2 acres the grape plantations In Nashik just take one's breath away.  Grapes and Nashik have been in news recently in the month of March as the Grape exports from the District gained momentum and nearly 63,000 tonnes of the fruit has been sent out in 4,705 containers so far. Compared to the last year, there is still a dip in the export numbers. Last year it seems according to the reports at the same time the same year, they had exported 75,000 tonnes and this year; dip in exports could be the result of unseasonal rains that had devastated the region’s vineyards in 2019.  

I was in Conversation with the Grape farmer Bapu Bhausaheb Salunke, from Vadner Bhairav village, Nashik, Maharashtra. Vander Bhairav faced a lot of scarcity in water ten years back and due to the conservation efforts headed by him, they are better off. Bapu BhauSaheb Salunke himself owns a  watershed which saves 2 crores of liters water. Almost 80 percent of its residents are engaged in agricultural activities, and the village is famous for its table and juice varieties. The farmers there have remained largely unaffected and faced minimal losses due to water scarcity —all thanks to Bapu Bhausaheb Salunke, a grape farmer. 

As Coronavirus hits the Country Globally and Nationally, each corner of the country is facing difficulty. Some of the majorly hit industries are that of Agriculture and sadly the poor grape farmers are in a total fix as to what next as Grapes need to be harvested at the proper maturity index, as to the hardy fruits like guava and pomegranate. The grape export season usually starts from January 10 and continues through the second week of April. As they think of overtaking the last year’s export of 1.1 lakh tonnes and achieving 1.44 lakh tonnes is when the economy gets hits in the form of a virus. 

The Farmers single out their worry in one word about the LockDown till April 15 and are trying to let us know that they are at a very difficult point of their life, where all the works pertaining to the farm like setting up the nursery, planting, cultivation, fertilization, harvesting, and even watering has come to a halt as workers are not coming to their farms due to the lockdown. Harvesting is not happening as the Export authorities are not coming to pick up the harvest. The farm laborers are also worried about their daily wages and are jobless. The Grapes are still on the vines and they are absolutely clueless as they are facing a big loss this year. The situations seem to be grave, the whole lot which is yet to harvested goes waste and he is worried whether it may go up to the extent of farmer suicides. Taking into account the drastic Climate changes which they faced and braved, but this  Lockdown makes them more worried at this point. 

This Article is in interest to create awareness about the grave and grim situations in the Grape farmers of Nashik. We sincerely hope the situations to ease out soon and if at all there were some issues the farmers are facing, some kind of insurance helps them to ease out their problems. We are sure the officials and the governments will listen to this plea and will be with them. 

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