The country’s grape exporters who had suffered losses after the rejection of grape consignments by the European countries in 2009-10 citing the presence of pesticide residues are likely to get some relief. A three-member committee consisting of members of APEDA has been appointed by the Centre to look into the issue and scrutinise the losses suffered by the grape exporters, key industry persons said.
The industry is reported to have suffered losses to the tune of R150 crore during this period because of the rejection of consignments. Top industry representatives including Kailash Bhosale, chairman of the science committee of Maharashtra Rajya Draksha Bagayatdar Sangh, an association of grape producers; Jagannath Khapre, president of All India Grape Exporters Association; and grape exporters from Latur region recently met Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari and commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking compensation for grape growers.
The delegation was of the view that the losses had happened because of the negligence of the government as it did not inform farmers about the presence of residues. According to Khapre, one of the exporters had approached the Aurangabad High Court bench, which ruled that the grape growers had suffered losses for no fault of theirs and therefore the government agencies should look into the issue.
“When the issue was brought before Gadkari, he said that while the government agencies were free to approach the Supreme Court over the issue, if the ruling was in favour of grape growers, they would have to comply with it,” Khapre said. “Therefore, a decision was taken to appoint a committee. The committee, which has members of APEDA and agriculture sector representatives, is expected to prepare a report within 9 months and also recommend the compensation.”
In 2010, grape exports had faced a setback, with EU reluctant to accept Indian table grape consignments as chlormequat chloride was detected in excess of the prescribed maximum residue level .