Poor harvest but sweeter fruit this grape season, say officials

Poor harvest but sweeter fruit  this grape season, say officials

There will be a lesser-than-expected harvest of grapes this season in and around the grape-growing areas in Bengaluru Rural. However, there is some good news, too – the fruit will be much sweeter this summer.

Grape production has come down by 15 to 20 per cent in the areas the fruit is grown in Bengaluru Rural such as Devanahalli, Doddaballapur, Nelamanagala and Hoskote, according to the Horticulture department officials.

The area under grape cultivation has also reduced, say officials. Devanahalli and Doddaballapur, which register maximum grape cultivation, have seen a decline this year.

Last year, the area under grape cultivation was 2,300 hectares in Devanahalli, but this year, it has come down to 2,150 hectares. In Doddaballapur, too, the area under cultivation has reduced from 80 acres to 15 acres, said a Bengaluru Rural Horticulture department official.

“The heavy November downpour destroyed seedless varieties of grapes, which are harvested only once a year. The area of cultivation has also come down as farmers indulged in growing vegetables such as pole beans, tomatoes and other leafy vegetables this year. They also grew guava and flowers, especially Marigold. In Doddaballapur, many farmers are a part of the mango cultivation and expansion programme and this has resulted in the reduction of the area under grape cultivation,” the official added.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, K M Parashivamurthy, Additional Director (Fruits and Floriculture), Horticulture Department, said the total area under grape cultivation in Karnataka is 20,000 hectares, of which 2,500 hectares is in Bengaluru Rural. “The demand for wine grapes has increased because of the growing market for wine products. Farmers and wine companies have tie-ups,” he added.

Sweeter harvest

S V Hittalmani, former additional director, Horticulture department, said the grape produce is sweeter this year due to the early onset of summer.  “Normally, grapes are grown in hot and dry regions. This time, because the heat was more, it has helped increase the sugar content in the fruit.  As temperatures rise, the sweetness will also increase during the course of this summer,” he said. Meanwhile, grape production has not taken a hit in north Karnataka regions such as Vijayapura, Bagalkot and Belagavi.

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