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Grape area on the decline in Krishnagiri

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Under threat : A view of a grape farm in Krishnagiri.
Under threat : A view of a grape farm in Krishnagiri.

S. Prasad

Harvested crop is now sold in the market only for local consumption

Krishnagiri: The grape producers in Krishnagiri District are a peeved lot with excessive heat and lack of rain belying their hopes of a good harvest for the second consecutive year.

The crop was a major revenue earner to farmers and was cultivated on the entire stretch from Mathur, Pocchampalli, Kannandahalli, Perugopanahalli, Athikanur and Bellakottai. The main season was from March to May and the harvest was sent to vineyards in Hyderabad and Bangalore. As a result wine traders used to pay advance before the harvest season.

With nature’s vagaries taking its toll the area under grape cultivation has reduced drastically. During the last two decades the area under grape cultivation has reduced to 500 acres from 3,000 acres. Depletion of ground water level and arrival of seedless and new variety of grapes has wiped out the crop from Krishnagiri district. As a result the harvested crop is now mainly sold in the market only for local consumption.

“An acute shortage and non-mobility of staff has been a major impediment in the dissemination of latest techniques and farming methods. As a result the Department of Horticulture is not able to deliver the required technological inputs to farmers

On the other hand farmers across the border were provided with all required inputs and assistance to improve and increase their productivity. Barring mangoes, the department has not initiated any steps to increase the area under grape cultivation in Krishnagiri district” says Palanichamy a farmer.

Annoyed over lack of any assistance from the department a majority of the farmers have now shifted to alternative crops. Systematic approach in terms of technical advice, input supply and market intelligence is required for the sustenance of the industry say farmers.

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