IDUKKI: It’s rosy time for farmers who have been cultivating grapes on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border as they are reaping rich yield this season, thanks to the favourable rains. Around 30 per cent of the grape farmers in the border areas are from Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam districts, cultivating grapes on farm lands taken on lease for 15 to 20 years. The fully grown vineyards with lush grape bunches at KK Petty, Churulipetty, Gudalur and Cumbum near Kumily are a visual treat too. High yield with a low overall expenditure makes grape cultivation a big attraction for farmers. But they have a big challenge to nullify. More farmers growing grapes in places like Kolkata, pushing the existing farmers into uncertainty. Sunny, hailing from Kancheeyar in Idukki, has been cultivating grapes at Churulipetty for the last 20 years told ‘Express’ that they were not getting a fair price for the product. “The price has not gone up. We’re getting a rate ranging from Rs 15 to Rs 18 per kg. There were times when we used to get Rs 25 to Rs 26 per kg,” he said. The farmers have been focusing on new grape brands such as red globe, black sable, green and purple grapes, aiming at markets in Delhi, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, besides Kerala.
➤Grapes are harvested in every four months
➤The fruit get ready in every 15 to 20 days
➤Red globe, black sable, green and purple are the main brands cultivated