Commodity News

Grape Exports in Maharashtra Hit Hard Due to Nationwide Lockdown & Unseasonal Rain

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

This year, Maharashtra grape farmers have only exported 92,342 tonnes in 6,842 containers, whereas last year the state exported 1,21,469 tonnes of grapes in 8,982 containers. The unseasonal monsoon during October and the nationwide lockdown have led to a 24 per cent drop in Maharashtra’s grape export.

According to reports by Hindu Business line, Maharashtra used to rank first in terms of production, accounting for more than 81 per cent of the total production and representing the highest productivity in the country. Nashik, the grape hub, exports nearly 82,000 tonnes, which is almost 89 per cent of the total grape export from Maharashtra.

Grape farmers said the next season would put more pressure on them due to the heavy loss incurred during this season. Many grape farmers tried to sell their produce in the local markets but the lockdown and demand decline disrupted their plans.

In Karnataka, Bijapur exported 142 tonnes of grapes this season. According to data published by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), no grapes were exported from Andhra Pradesh.

All India Grape Exporters Association officials said exports were on track till February but as the COVID-19 spread increased, the demand for grapes declined in the international market, and the lockdown came as the last straw. Farmers, exporters and traders have suffered heavy losses this year.

Farmers and traders faced problems in storage and quality maintenance due to unseasonal rains in September and October. Some consignments were rejected over quality issues. Many consignments got stuck due to the lockdown. Also, there was a dearth of manpower for cutting and packaging. The rates of grapes dropped by 40 per cent at the end of the season

The major grape-growing States are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and the north-western region covering Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

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