Grapes used to be grown on around 10,000 acres across Telangana state in the 1990s. However, the area under grape cultivation had come down to just 5,000 acres in 2008 and currently stands at 750 acres The erstwhile Rangareddy district, which was a major hub for grapes, has seen a drastic decline in its area of cultivation, with the crop standing on just 132 acres of land. Despite the obstacles, the horticulture department is on an ambitious trail to at least double the area under grape cultivation in the district by the end of next year. It is an uphill task, as the grape’s fall from grace was caused due to many factors.
Grape consultant Dr A. Appa Rao has said that the Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, used to grow grapes in his backyard in 1940, which was named ‘Anab-e-Shahi’ which meant ‘king of grapes’ in 1945. In 1963, many Indian businessmen who were sent back from Africa, started growing the variety around Hyderabad mostly as a ‘rich man’s crop’, he said.