Punjab farmers expect good season for grapes

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Abohar (Punjab), May 25 (ANI): Farmers in Punjab are expecting a good season for grapes this time, as the weather remains favourable.

Grape production is completely dependent on the weather. And the only variety grown in the region, the 'Perlette' may be damaged by rain, making weather critical for the farmers.

Though the farmers believe a good produce is on the cards unless it rains.If the weather remains favourable, like it is, if there are no rains, this can be a good season for grapes. If it rains, it will damage the grapes. The crop is completely dependent on the weather," said Jagga Singh, local farmer and contractor.

The farmers have had to face huge losses including non-recovery of even input costs in the past dissuading them from grape cultivation.

The heavy initial investment for establishing a vineyard and high recurring costs in vineyard management are also deterrents in growing grapes.

Though there are other reasons also that have led to the reduction in grape farming in Punjab.

"Formerly there was good production of grapes in Punjab. Almost 2000-2500 hectares of land was under grape cultivation but now it has reduced to a mere 800-900 hectares. There are a few reasons for it. firstly, the water level has come up, secondly the grapes are not getting properly marketed, thirdly there is no processing plant here and fourthly there is just one variety of grape that is cultivated, this variety ripens before the monsoons.

Wine cannot be made out of it as this variety is not sweet enough," said P.S Aulakh, Regional Station, Punjab Agriculture University, Abohar.

Grapes in India are cultivated over an area of almost 34,000 hectares with an annual production of 1,000,000 tonnes.

The risk of losing a crop due to unprecedented changes in weather remains very high spelling trouble for farmers. By Avtar Singh (ANI)

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