Bayer CropScience, NRCG organize Grape Forum

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  • Objective to enhance the quality of produce
  • Encourage adoption of new trends in cultivation, plant protection, nutrients and water management to increase the competitiveness in the export market

NewZNew (Chandigarh)  : Bayer CropScience and National Research Centre for Grapes (NRCG) under the presence of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), organized a one day Grape Forum at Nashik, Maharashtra. The event saw participation from several key stakeholders such as the Maharashtra Rajya Draksha Bagaitdar Sangh (MRDBS), Yara, Netafim, Seven Star Fruits Pvt Ltd., an external nutrition expert, amongst others. The forum was inaugurated by Dr T Janakiram (ADG, Horticulture), Dr S.D.Sawant (Director NRCG) and Joerg Rehbein (Head of Bayer CropScience, Indian subcontinent).

Discussions in the forum focused on improving the quality of grapes and food safety aspects for both domestic consumption and exports. Other topics included the challenges faced by the Industry such as high initial investment for growers, recurring costs for the management of vineyards, shelf life issues, requirements for better quality grapes for export and marketing problems, mitigating unpredictable changes in weather patterns leading to diseases and loss of crop were also on the agenda.

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Methodologies such as efficient use of water, protected cultivation to safeguard the produce, optimal application of plant protection chemicals and increasing the reach to farmers for timely intervention through effective communication channels were also discussed.

Bayer CropScience’s objective in organizing the Grape Forum echoes with its commitment to finding solutions to combat various challenges faced by the Industry. Being a market leader, Bayer has undertaken several activities in this area. As a best practice, the Company takes care of “Grape Project Model” in order to create a sustainable table grape solution and enhance customer value.

The project follows a weather-based advisory model to manage residues in grapes through Bayer spray program. Strategies involve establishing a good grape growing practice jointly with the National Research Centre for GrapeNRCG . Bayer CropScience manages the plot with the technical team and gives safety advise to ensure traceability of the grapes. Bayer CropScience also provides forward linkages to Food Chain partners for export.

The success of this partnership approach is evident from the fact that there are savings recorded in terms of lesser use of crop protection products and higher yields, resulting in more income to the farmers. Further, due to fewer fungicide applications, there is lower impact on the environment.

Reiterating Bayer CropScience’s aim to establish such successful partnerships for the improvement of agriculture, Joerg Rehbein, Head, Bayer CropScience, Indian Subcontinent said, “At Bayer CropScience, we are constantly improving our product portfolio and approach to better understand and serve the farming community. Companies often need to establish broader partnerships to leverage each other’s strengths. At Bayer CropScience, we leverage our unique expertise through projects and partnerships such as this. We will in the future, focus even more on addressing specific local requirements in grape and in other crops,  in order to aggressively target growth opportunities in a sustainable manner.”

Following this event, a stakeholder meeting was organized between Bayer, NRCG and GIZ to discuss a cooperation agreement in order to focus on activities such as export, optimizing the use of water and safe grape production for consumers.

Grapes are cultivated in 119,000 hectares with a production of 2004.4 thousand tons in 2013-14 (NHB database). The total export of grapes was approximately 108.25 thousand tons with an export value of INR1086.5 cr. A majority of the grape cultivation is confined to the semi-arid tracts of Maharashtra and North Karnataka. More than 99 per cent of the acerage is under table and raisin grape cultivation, unlike in other countries where major acreage is for wine grapes.