Indian grapes stuck at EU ports, govt to take steps soon

Without elaborating on relief measures, Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said, "Something is round the corner, wait till next week."Grape exporters are facing a loss of an estimated Rs 273 crore as European authorities have rejected consignments from India over the use of a chemical to preserve the fruit.

According to exporters, as many as 2,600 containers worth around Rs 273 crore are stuck at ports in Europe.States like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are the major exporters of grapes and in order to keep the grapes fresh, chloromacvat chemical was used as a preservative.

A list of 97 preservatives to be used was given by the grape buyers in European countries. In December, 2009, these countries had warned farmers not to use chloromacvat. But till then, the preservative was used and the fruit had nearly ripened, Tukaram Yelale, President of a Grapes Export Association said.

The consignment sent to Europe was rejected and it had been lying there for the last two-and-a—half months. The stock is currently being disposed of by burying the grapes in big pits and the cost is borne by the exporters, Yelale said.Grape producers have now asked the Centre to intervene and ensure they at least get the production and carting charges.

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