'20 per cent of output, exports hit by rains, hailstorm'
According toestimates by the State Government, up to 20 per cent of the output and export could be affected due to rains and hailstorm.
Hyderabad, March 22
Grape growers, especially those into export markets, are a worried lot in Andhra Pradesh. The recent hailstorm and unseasonal rains have dampened their spirits.
Grape gardens stretching to over 300 acres in the districts of Ranga Reddy, Medak and Mahboobnagar bore the brunt of the negative impact of the freak weather. Popular varieties such as Thompson seedless and Flame seedless, which are essentially table varieties, are exported.
According to estimates by the State Government, up to 20 per cent of the output and export could be affected due to rains and hailstorm. If, no further unseasonal rains occur, the overall output is expected to be 10 per cent higher than that of the last growing season.
The State exported about 1,400 tonnes in 100 containers, each having 14 tonnes of the popular grape varieties last year. The export destination was pre-dominantly the UK and some to Dubai and Europe. This year, just three containers have been exported and the pace is picking up, official sources said.
The State Government had estimated exports to go up to 2,000 tonnes. About 124 farmers had registered for exports this season. In view of the unfavourable developments, the exports could fall to 1,500 tonnes or even the same level as last year, the sources said. In terms of output, it was around 85,500 tonnes last year.
Mr B.V.V. Satyanarayana, a grape exporter of Devi Farms, said grapes from Chile have flooded the markets in the UK and are commanding good rates.
Another problem that exporters could face is the impact on appearance and quality during transport and preservation at low temperatures. Since March-April is the peak time for export, which ends by April 15, there was very little time left, he told