Patil said that raisin auctions had initially gone online in March as a pilot project of eNAM and it had worked for a while until Covid.
Wholesale raisin prices in Maharashtra have now gone up by Rs 40-50 per kg due to the festive season, despite a record production this year. Farmers who were getting Rs 100-120 per kg for raisins are now getting Rs 120-220 per kg for their produce.
Around 90,000 tonne of the dry fruit that were lying in the cold storages located in Sangli and Tasgaon are now finding their way to the markets, senior APMC officials said. Dinkar Patil, chairman, Sangli Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), said that the demand has picked up ahead of the festival and a record 45,000 tonne has been sold last month alone.
Raisin production in the state has gone up to about 2.10 lakh tonne from an average annual production of 1.80 lakh tonne. The raisins were in cold storage due to lack of demand during the pandemic which led the prices plummeting. More than 45,000 tonne of raisin has already been sold while 1.65 lakh tonne is remaining with farmers. The raisins have been sold to traders across the country and the demand is expected to continue after easing of the lockdown. More raisins are expected to be brought out of cold storages for sale, he said.
Maharashtra ranks first in terms of production of grapes, accounting for more than 81% of the total output in the state. Maharashtra exported 1,21,469 tonne of grapes in 2018-19. However this season, it exported 92,342 tonne, a drop of 24%. As exports took a hit due to Covid pandemic and a decline in demand in the domestic market, many grape growers in Nasik, Sangli and Solapur belt converted their produce to raisins. Grape growers who could not take their produce to the market because of Covid started producing raisin thus leading to a record production of around 2.10 lakh tonne. Sangli, Nashik and Solapur are major grape and raisin producers of the state.
Patil said that raisin auctions had initially gone online in March as a pilot project of eNAM and it had worked for a while until Covid. Now auctions are being conducted in the old-fashioned way at the APMC. Sangli from Maharashtra was selected among the five APMCs across the country for the demo project for eNAM. Sangli is known for the production of raisins and turmeric. The region does a total trade of nearly Rs 500 crore in raisins annually.
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