Glut-hit raisin market eyes festival season

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on October 26, 2020

With demand in the market plummeting, raisins worth ₹900 crore is stuck in cold storages in Sangli, one of the prominent grape-producing districts in Maharashtra. Farmers and traders hope that the ensuing festival season will provide a breather.

Raisin production in the district has doubled as many farmers who were unable to take their grapes to the market due to lockdown turned to raisin-making. As a result, the estimated raisin production in the State has gone up to about 2.5 lakh tonnes (lt) from the average annual production of 1.80 lt. Besides Sangli, Nashik and Solapur districts are leading grape and raisin producers.

Prices decline

“After a lull in the market for the last few months, finally there is some movement in the last ten days. Super quality raisin is being sold at ₹150-225 per kg in the wholesale market, while second-grade product is fetching ₹90-150 per kg. We hope that the raisin price will sustain or rise before Diwali,” said Raju Kumbhar, President of Sangli-Tasgaon Raisin Merchant Association. About 90,000 tonnes of the dry fruit is in cold storage in Sangli. He said that more raisin will be out of cold storages next week as traders from other States will start purchasing. Gulshan Kumar Agrawal, a raisin trader, said that compared to last year the market is down and rates are not as expected. “The superior quality raisin had got a maximum of ₹300 per kg rate last year. The average rate is ₹150/kg this year. The retail demand is down as people are not coming to the market and also purchase priorities have changed because of lockdown and overall financial conditions,” he said.

Storage fees

While the market is still moving slow, farmers who have kept their produce in cold storage are worried. Farmers have to pay ₹30,000 to produce one tonne of raisin and now they are paying cold storage rent.

“If the market continues to show a negative signal, farmers will be in deep trouble. The majority of farmers in the district completely depend on grapes and raisin income,” said farmer PP Pawar.

Published on October 26, 2020

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