Don Limón developing new Indian grape projects

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Don Limón developing new Indian grape projects

Germany-headquartered produce company Don Limón is currently discussing its next project aimed at supporting the Indian table grape sector.

For the last four years the company for has been working in partnership with the German Government under a program called develoPPP to help Indian small-holder growers in Maharashtra, a key district in the country’s grape belt.

Last year it finished the first project, which was focused on helping producers reach EU market standards.

Don Limón markets the growers' grapes in the EU, bringing them straight to retailers and cutting our intermediaries to save costs.

"We are now at the very beginning stages of planning for other projects in India. They will also be in the grape sector but related to other factors like irrigation water or packaging systems," Don Limón representative Debjit Ghosh told Fresh Fruit Portal at last month's London Produce Show and Conference.

"The last project was mainly focused on uplifting Indian grape farmers' conditions for the European market - which they were missing in terms of documentation, residues and pesticide control. That was our main focus, along with making the farmer sustainable, so that when the project ends the farmer can continue to make a living."

He explained that while the first project had been successful, there were still a lot of difficulties and challenges for grape growers in India.

"We need work together to solve these challenges so farmers can get more confident and so they can understand by themselves what the changes are they need in order to improve," he said, adding that in Maharashtra there has been a "huge challenge of water" over recent years.

"The Monsoons have been delayed which has caused a lot of challenges. We need to work out how to store the water to use it afterward for irrigation. These are the kind of problems we are trying to find solutions to through these development projects, and we involve them so they can sustain themselves for longer."

Ghosh also noted that one of the biggest challenges of marketing Indian grapes in Europe was their small sizing compared to the South African and Chilean competition. However, he said that perceptions of Indian-origin fruit have improved significantly in Europe over the last few years.

"I see a huge change in the mindset, and I think Don Limón has played a huge role in that, especially with its development projects and supplying one of the biggest retailers in Germany," he said.

In the future, he said Don Limón would like to develop projects for other horticultural sectors in India, such as pomegranate and mangoes, and is also looking to work with farmers in Africa.

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