High moisture, disease leave grape growers in distress

High moisture, disease leave grape growers in distress

Above par northeast monsoon (winter monsoon) season and downy mildew disease have left the grape growers of Vijayapura district in dire straits.

About 40% of the crop cultivated in the district has been damaged due to excessive moisture, cold weather and the downy mildew infection. The crop loss in the region is pegged at Rs 356 crore.

In Vijayapura district, horticulture crops are cultivated on 58,751 hectares. Of which, grapes are cultivated on 13,400 hectares by over 25,000 farmers. Owing to the torrential rain in the district, during Sept 15 to Oct 10, and considerable increase in moisture, downy mildew disease, a higly destructive disease, has gripped the vineyards.

Vijayapura district tops the state in grape cultivation. Of the 13,400 hectares, grapes grown on about 12,730 hectares (95%) are for raisins (dried form of green grapes). Raisin trade in the region is estimated at Rs 1,300 crore to Rs 1,600 crore annually.

Grape growers get about 7 to 8 tonnes of raisin from one hecatre. The good quality produce is sold at Rs 160 to Rs 220 per kg at local markets (normal price). But, this time, the low yield owing to downy mildew infection has left the growers in the

Horticulture, Deputy Director, Santosh Inamdar said, “The growers who had carried out leaf trimming/pruning in September or October will suffer heavy losses. At several places, vineyards are damaged beyond repair due to high percentage of soil moisture and cold weather. According to conservative estimate, the crop loss is pegged at Rs 356 crore.”

Rizwan Jagirdar, a grape cultivator from Babaleshwar taluk, poured out his woes to DH, “Downy mildew infection has made our lives miserable. We are sprinkling medicine to the affected crop but the infection has not come under control. We are left with no option but to sever the affected part of the plant to save the vineyard. Several growers have lost the crop completely. Farmers are finding it tough to save the crop,” he rued.