A recent spell of hailstorm and rains in some parts of Maharashtra over the last three days has hit raisin producers hard. Farmers in Sangli, one of the biggest raisin production centres in the state, are unhappy with the rains that have come at an inopportune time, when the raisins were in the process of being dried.
“This will definitely affect the overall quality of the raisins, which lose color due to the rains and as a result, the price gets affected as well,” Subhash Arve, president, Maharashtra State Grape Growers Association (MGGA), who looks after the Sangli region, said. Prices of raisins which were around Rs 200-250 per kg, have dropped almost 50% as the raisins are turning black, he said. Farmers are now getting just about Rs 70-80 per kg for their produce. Warehouses where the raisins were being dried have been damaged causing water to seep in, which reduces the sugar content of the product. Around 40,000 tonne of raisins were expected this season, but the impact will now have to be seen in the next few days, he said.
Manoj Mali, president, Sangli Tasgaon Raisin Merchants Association, says the crop this year was good since the grape production was good and the season was pretty good for farmers until the rains hit them. As of now, the prices are still in the region of 150-215 per kg but this is for the earlier produce, he said. The impact on prices will be seen in the next 10-12 days when the raisins that have been damaged in the recent spell will find their way into the market, he added. Normally, raisins require 12-15 days if the weather remains sunny to dry and the golden colour is considered to be the best quality raisin. However, because of the rains, the colour turns blackish and the raisins become an unattractive dark brown or green which finally impacts the price, he explained.
The situation in Nashik, another major raisin belt, is similar. According to Arunbhai Mansuri, president, Nashik Raisin Producers Association, the raisins have lost colour and the weight has reduced because of the rise in water content. Also, the produce will reach the market a week late because of the delay in drying operations. Prices are now Rs 55-80 per kg as against Rs 100-160 per kg last year, he said.
* Farmers in Sangli, one of the biggest raisin production centres in Maharashtra, have been affected by rains that came at an inopportune time, when the raisins were in the process of being dried
* Prices of raisins which were around R200-250 per kg, have dropped almost 50% as the raisins are turning black
* Warehouses where the raisins were being dried have been damaged causing water to seep in, which reduces the sugar content of the product