Why Karnataka grape farmers prefer Maharashtra market

The grape growers complain about the lack of enough storage facilities and fair minimum price in Karnataka.

BySaurav Kumar

Published Jul 13, 2022 | 8:00 AMUpdatedJul 25, 2022 | 3:20 PM

Karnataka grape market in crisis as storage facilities are grossly insufficient. (Creative Commons)

Karnataka grape farmers — the second-leading producers of grapes in the country — prefer to sell their harvest in Maharashtra and not in their state.

A key reason: The lack sufficient post-harvest storage facilities in Karnataka.

Vijayapura district has the highest grape production, but farmers there remain dependent on neighbouring Maharashtra state for its sale.

Sale destination Tasgaon

Madhukar Jadhav, a grape-grower from Vijayapura, told South First, “Karnataka doesn’t have sufficient storage houses. So, we sell our product in Maharashtra.”

Tasgaon town in the Sangli district of Maharashtra is the favoured destination for grape farmers as it is equipped with storage houses.

The farmers also say they are offered better prices at the Tasgaon market.

Krishna M, a grape farmer from the Indi taluk of Vijayapura, told South First, “Cultivating grapes in 10 acres is tough because I need to travel nearly 150 kilometres to Sangli to get a fair price. I get an extra ₹40-50 per kg at Sangli, compared to Vijayapura.”

The post-harvest crisis

Vijayapura Grape Growers Association head MS Rudre Gowda told South First, “Grape-growers face a serious post-harvest crisis. Insufficient storage infrastructure is the prime reason for this. The low prices are another reason.”

Gowda explained, “The current grape storage capacity in the district is 25,000 tonnes, whereas the required capacity is one lakh tonnes.”

“Farmers do not have any facility to store the 75,000 tonnes of grapes and raisins produced every season.”

Raisins — dried grapes — have good commercial value in the wine industry, pointed out Gowda.

According to the Grape Growers Association data, the annual production of the state is five lakh tonnes, out of which four lakh tonnes are used for making raisins.

Grape growers’ demands

The Vijayapura Grape Growers Association is demanding cold-storage facilities and processing and packaging units for raisins. It also seeks minimum support prices for grapes.

The association is also demanding the setting up of a research institute in the region, on the lines of the National Research Centre for Grapes in Pune.

Karnataka Horticulture (Fruits & Floriculture) Department Additional Director KB Dundi told South First, “The department has decided to set up storage houses in the Vijayapura district as it is the leading producer of grapes and raisins.”

He added, “Storage infrastructure would be built on a public-private partnership (PPP) model, and the discussion on it is in the preliminary stages.”

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, during a meeting with the Karnataka Grape and Wine Board and the Department of Horticulture on Saturday, 9 July, gave directions for the early establishment of cold-storage facilities in Vijayapura district.

The state government’s budget for 2022-2023 outlined the establishment of a modern cold-storage facility in the district at the cost of ₹35 crore. This would help with storage, conservation, and transportation.