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Covid-19: Maharashtra’s Million Tonnes Grape Exports Declines Badly; What Next?

Around 35,000 million tonnes (mt) export of Maharashtra’s grape growers is hit due to the spread of coronavirus. 

Maharashtra has exported over 74,000 mt of grapes to different countries till today i.e. March 20, as compared to 89,000 mt in March 2019. It is to be noted that the maximum number of grape consignments have gone to the Netherlands (48,000 mt) which is followed by the UK (9,800 mt) and Germany (8,835 mt). However, in the year 2018-19, Netherlands, UK, Russia, Bangladesh and Germany were major destinations for grape export. 

Vilas Shinde, Chairman and MD of the Nashik-based Sahyadri Farms said, “Around 30% of the grapes are still in the fields which is about 25,000-30,000 tonnes of export-quality grapes. We are closely watching developments & hope that the coronavirus spread will not affect grape exports.”  

Sahyadri Farms is one of the leading exporters of grapes. Lockdowns and reduction in grapes demand abroad is also a reason for concern for farmers. The demand in supermarkets in the UK and Germany has drastically gone down, said exporters. 

Adding to it, the hailstorms & heavy downpours in parts of Marathwada, western and north Maharashtra, where the cultivation of grape is concentrated, have already damaged grapes. 

Maharashtra is the number one producer of grapes in India in terms of production. It accounts for over 81% of total output. Some other major grape-growing states are Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Karnataka has exported 91.260 mt as per data on the APEDA website. 

In India, grapes are cultivated on 1,23,000 hectares, which occupies 2.01% of the total area in the country. India, being the major exporter of fresh grapes has exported 2,46,133.79 mt of fresh grapes valued at ₹2,335.24 crore in 2018-19, stated the APEDA data.  

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