Indian table grape growers to decide prices for traders following heavy losses
Indian table grape growers in a key province have initiated a major market reform on their own, deciding to set their own prices to traders, The Hindu Business Line reports.
After suffering heavy losses due to unseasonal rains and sudden changes in the atmosphere in the last two seasons, grape farmers have resolved to decide the rates of fresh grapes based on their variety and quality, from the next year.
The Maharashtra State Grape Growers’ Association (MSGGA), the apex body of grape farmers, recently held a meeting in Nashik. Vice-President of the Association, Kailas Bhosale, said the Centre has introduced Minimum Support Price (MSP) for certain crops. But in the case of fresh grapes, it is the traders who decide the rate and that, too, without considering the production cost.
“In the last two years we have incurred heavy losses due to unseasonal rains and the price of the produce has dropped in the market. We have decided that from next season (January), farmers will decide the rate as per the quality and variety of the grapes. We are not going to sell our produce to traders below the production cost,” said Patil.
Maharashtra is the country’s top Indian table grape producer, accounting for more than 81 per cent of total production, with the highest productivity. In 2020-21, India exported 246,107 metric tons (MT) valued at $313.57 million
Vilas Shinde, director of the Association said, “Export has become an expensive affair. In the last two years, the rent on containers has gone up substantially. Packing rates have also risen. We want to ensure that the increased cost of production is shouldered by consumers or the market.”
The Centre has introduced the Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP) to replace the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS). Farmers have demanded that the Government increase the grant on the export of grapes to 9 percent from 3 percent. Grape farmers have also demanded that the government help them import plastic covers to protect the produce from unseasonal rains and hail.
The Association members will soon meet to finalise their strategy for the coming Indian table grape season. Grape farmers have insisted that farmers must have the right to decide the price of the produce. Traders in the State have preferred to keep mum on the development and instead are keeping a close eye on the Association’s moves.