Maharashtra’s Nashik district recorded an all-time high export of 143,000 tons of grapes during the grape season, that just ended. More than 150,000 hectare in the district alone comes under grape cultivation and some 50,000 farmers are associated with grape farming.
Despite being a leader in export and domestic markets, grape farmers in Nashik district continue to remain unorganised and marketing remains a weak point with most. To tackle this, the Maharashtra Grape Growers Association (MGGA) has decided to take the lead and bring farmer producer companies associated with grape farming under a common federation for grapes.
Kailas Bhosale, secretary of the association, told FE that marketing had continued to remain a huge challenge for most farmers. “There are several factors involved right from getting the right prices for grapes, lack of insurance, traders not honouring their financial commitments and the absence of a platform for addressing farmer grievances,” He said the effort was to bring farmers together to form farmer producer companies that in turn could come together to market their produce through a common platform.
“At present, most farmers end up contracting their produce to commission agents or traders and there have been several cases of traders duping farmers out of their money.”
Through the federation, they could also invite traders to register so that the farmers end up selling their produce only to registered traders, he said, citing the example of APEDA where grape growers have to register themselves with GrapeNet.