With the coronavirus pandemic severely hitting wine-producing regions of Western Europe such as France, Italy and Spain, grapes farmers in Maharashtra are looking for new export markets including Russia.
The prices of grapes have gone from Rs 70 per kg two weeks ago to Rs 10 per kg, farmers said.
"The area under grapes cultivation in Marathwada (central Maharashtra) is limited. In Latur district, grapes are cultivated on around 100 acres in Killari area. But this is export-quality crop," said Nagnath Kaname, a farmer and college teacher.
"Demand from European markets is uncertain. So farmers in Latur area are looking to export to Russia. We have enough production to fill 40 containers," said a farmer.
"The main problem is non-availability of transport facilities and labor. Traders who bought grapes for Rs 70 per kg a fortnight ago are now not ready to pay more than Rs 10- 12. The local retail market is closed. So we are looking for new markets," said Sopan Kanchan, president, All India Grapes Producers Association.
"Grapes on 45,000 acres are lying around in the fields in Nashik. An acre of farm produces ten tonnes on average. So you can imagine the quantity," said Ashok Gaikwad, a farmer from Nashik, a major grapes production centre in Maharashtra.