Rain damage: Extended monsoon impacts Maharashtra grape crop

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Published: October 26, 2019 12:56 AM

A recent assessment by the National Research Centre for Grapes (NRCG) that has surveyed various parts of the state like Nashik, Sangli, Solapur and Pune revealed that the extended rain has caused huge damage to the crop.

The harvest period for grapes spans between September and October — the months when rain has strongly prevailed over the state.

Maharashtra’s grape growers find themselves in a fix because the crop has not insured this season. Incessant rains, lack of sunlight, a shroud of mist and cloudy weather for the past few months have badly affected the state’s grape cultivation in almost every stage of growth, impacting at least 30% of the crop.

As per the normal practice, the state government every year issues a general resolution (GR) in September, exhorting grape farmers to avail crop insurance. The crop insurance is calculated on the basis of the cost of production of the crop, which comes up to Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh per acre. The insurance varies in every stage of growth and is usually given as per the damage caused at that stage of growth. Around 50% of the premium is paid by farmers and the remaining 50% is paid by the government. However, this season, the government did not issue any GR in September or in October, said Kailash Bhosale, treasurer, Maharashtra Grape Growers Association. Because of this, farmers could not avail insurance and the incessant rains in September and October have damaged the crop to the extent of 30-40%, he said.

The insurance is usually valid from October 16 – any rain after that date is categorised as “unseasonal rain” and farmers are given insurance, he said. This year, because of the extended monsoon, the crop has been damaged and there is no insurance cover, he said.

Bhosale pointed out that the association had met the government for the GR but the government officials kept delaying it. “This is the the fault of the government and the farmers are now without any form of insurance… the government should take this into consideration and give the farmers insurance compensation,” he said.

A recent assessment by the National Research Centre for Grapes (NRCG) that has surveyed various parts of the state like Nashik, Sangli, Solapur and Pune revealed that the extended rain has caused huge damage to the crop. The harvest period for grapes spans between September and October — the months when rain has strongly prevailed over the state. The increased levels of humidity and fungul infections have added to the damage, he said. Around 3 lakh acres in Maharashtra come under grape cultivation. In Nashik district alone, the area under cultivation comes up to 1.5 lakh to 1.75 lakh acres.

Maharashtra’s grape farmers have had a good export season in 2018-19, with more than 1.91 lakh tonne of grapes being exported during the season.

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