Jayashree Bhosale, ET Bureau Apr 3, 2014, 12.08PM IST
PUNE: Raisin prices are higher by almost 50 per cent over the previous year and are likely to move up further as the season advances. Prices have appreciated due to increase in exports and the prospect of lower production in the current season due to the damage caused by unseasonal rainfall.
Maharashtra, the top producer and exporter of grapes, is also the top producer of raisins. Sangli and Solapur districts in the state lead in raisin production and trading. Raisin or dried grapes arrivals have begun over the last 15 days. Farmers are getting about 50 per cent more prices over the previous year.
"The raisins, which we sold for Rs 100/kg last year, are giving us Rs 150/kg this year," said Rajendra Ghuli, regional president, Sangli, Maharashtra State Grape Growers' Association.
Grape processors from Sangli have set up a cluster to promote raisin exports with an investment of Rs 200 crore. Machines have been imported from Turkey and used for cleaning, washing , drying, treatment with edible oil, sorting and packaging of raisins for exports.
A company set up by farmers runs the raisin cluster and charges a user fee from the traders /exporters. Last year, the state produced 1.25 lakh tonne raisins of which 25 per cent to 30 per cent was exported to the Middle East.
This year, the processors expect the production to fall to 80,000 to 90,000 tonne as unseasonal rainfall has damaged the grape orchards on a large scale in Sangli and Solapur.
"We have assessed losses of Rs 200 crore in Sangli and another Rs 100 crore in Pandharpur region," said Ghuli. Most of the export is currently taking place to the Middle East. The lower quality raisins go for exports while the top quality is sold in the domestic market.
Top quality raisins are sold at Rs 150/ kg to Rs 200/kg by farmers, who do not get this rate for exports. As the season advances, farmers expect the prices to rise further.
"We hope the prices will move up as arrivals pick up," said Prakash Patil, grape grower and raisin manufacturer from Solapur. This year, grape growers have received good prices both in the domestic market as well as for exports.
The prices of table grapes, which had reduced after the unseasonal rainfall, have increased to Rs 40/kg to Rs 50/kg now. Irrespective of the prices of table grapes, raisins give better returns to farmers as the input costs for farmers are less as compared to table grapes.
Tags: #IndianRaisins #newcropRaisins
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