Growers from the Bijapur region join the `elite club of exporters'
BIJAPUR: Notwithstanding hostile climate, farmers in the region on Sunday joined the "elite club of exporters" by beginning harvest of grapes of international standard.
Although the horticulturists here exported grapes in the past, for the first time they were sending grapes to overseas market on such a large scale. The quantity was likely to cross 1,000 tonnes.
A substantial portion of it was being sent to Europe, including U.K.
At a simple function held at a vineyard at Tikota, MLA M.B. Patil and MLC G.K. Patil formally commenced the harvest of export quality grapes.
Mr. Patil urged the State Government to announce incentives to cultivation of grapes because it was done in neighbouring Maharashtra.
He said that Maharashtra introduced new wine policy bringing wine in the list of food items after excluding it from the excise purview. There were only two wine factories in Maharashtra before introducing wine policy in 2002 and a number of such units had now reached 48.
It not only came as godsend to grape growers in that State but provided jobs for thousands of people, he said.
Besides, it earned crores of rupees foreign exchange. The State Government should follow the Maharashtra on this count, he added.
He said that the prevailing purchase tax of 12 per cent on raisin (dry grapes) was another major irritant that had been discouraging outside merchants from coming to the State.
The State should bring down the level to 4 per cent par with Maharashtra.
There was an urgent need to start a wine park in the district. G.K. Patil urged the Government to establish more cold storages to help grapes growers.
It was essential to see that there was uninterrupted power supply needed for proper function of cold storages.
Stating that water scarcity was a major drawback in the region State grape growers' association secretary K.H. Mumbaraddi emphasised on the need to expedite the project to fill minor irrigation tank.
Tammanna Hangaragi, Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee member, welcomed the gathering.
Vineyard owner, Baban Patil; the former zilla panchayat president Parasappa Teli; the zilla panchayat member and progressive farmer Somnath Bagalkot and Hrishikesh Sardeshpande, an executive of Seven Star Fruits Pvt. Ltd. that has been giving technical and marketing support to farmers took part.