Nashik farmers to grow new variety of grapes to compete in global markets

A Nashik-based company, owned by farmers, mentioned a week ago on this site has begun a new project to undertake plantation of new Californian variety of grapes in order to compete in the export market.

Sahayadri Farmers Producer Company (SFPL) has brought seedlings of the Californian variety of grape seedlings Arra-32 that can withstand adverse weather conditions and has a sweet taste. The company has opted for the black Arra variety.

Currently, 90 per cent table grapes planted in Maharashtra are of Thomson variety that is around 50-year-old. “This variety has less demand in the export market, develops cracks in rain and also has limitations while transportation. Varieties like Arra have been found to produce reliable and quality products even in adverse weather conditions,” said Vilas Shinde, founder of the company, reported by Financial Express.

Sahayadri has purchased production and marketing rights of the Arra variety of grape seedlings which will benefit farmers in entire Maharashtra, he said, adding that their company is the first to have purchased rights to a patented variety of grapes.

The Arra variety of grapes is grown in 24 countries and is available in white, red and black variants and all are of the export quality, he said.

Earlier, the company had successfully commercialised the Arra-15 variety of grapes which is now being cultivated on 40 hectare. The company intends to make available all the Arra varieties of grapes by 2020 and the target is to cultivate these varieties on 2,000 hectare by 2023.

In the next six months, Arra-15, Arra-30, Arra-13, Arra-19, 28, 29, 32 and A14 will be available for cultivation in India, company officials said.

SFPCL has 7,000 farmers as its members, including 1,200 grape growers. The company exported 1,459 containers (12 tonnes per container) of grapes to various countries during the last grape season 2018-19 (December-April).

Global company Grapa Varieties, that develops new varieties of grapes has chosen Sahayadri as its Indian partner through its marketing partner, Jupiter Group.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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