Telangana doubling down on grape cultivation 

Then came Thompson seedless variety, which went through mutations and is currently available in the markets as Tash-e-Ganesh, Sonka, Manikchaman and Sharad, he added.

Published: 30th March 2023 09:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th March 2023 09:14 AM   |  A+A-


K Anji Reddy's grape garden in Thukkuguda village of Maheshwaram mandal in Rangareddy district

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  Once perceived as the rich man’s choice for fruit, grapes used to be grown on around 10,000 acres across the State in the 1990s. However, the area under grape cultivation had come down to just 5,000 acres in 2008 and currently stands at 750 acres in Telangana. 

As is prevalent across the State, the erstwhile Rangareddy district, which was a major hub for grapes, has seen a drastic decline in its area of cultivation, with the crop standing on just 132 acres of land. Despite the obstacles, the horticulture department is on an ambitious trail to at least double the area under grape cultivation in the district by the end of next year. It is an uphill task, as the grape’s fall from grace was caused due to many factors.

Grape consultant Dr A Appa Rao told TNIE that the Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, used to grow grapes in his backyard in 1940, which was named ‘Anab-e-Shahi’ which meant ‘king of grapes’ in 1945. In 1963, many Indian businessmen who were sent back from Africa, started growing the variety around Hyderabad mostly as a ‘rich man’s crop’, he said. 

Then came Thompson seedless variety, which went through mutations and is currently available in the markets as Tash-e-Ganesh, Sonka, Manikchaman and Sharad, he added.

Big companies like Tata, Birla, DLF, Reddy Labs and Satyam Computers used to have grape gardens in large areas. It was in the 90s when local farmers entered grape cultivation, Appa Rao said. 

The situation, however, drastically changed in the early 2000s, mostly owing to the rapid urbanisation and consequential real estate boom in the erstwhile Rangareddy district, resulting in the fragmentation of land holdings. There is more to this, claim experts. 

Grape growers face many challenges: Expert

Rao, who once advised former chief ministers on grape cultivation, feels that rising input costs for setting up grape vineyards, increasing labour costs, risk of unseasonal rains, lack of subsidies and an absence of market linkage, to name a few.

Despite the several challenges, K Anji Reddy, a resident of Thukkuguda in Maheshwaram mandal, is one of the last 29 farmers in the Rangareddy district still growing grapes in his seven acres of land. He used to cultivate vegetables in 23 acres, but due to the lack of remunerative prices, he discontinued it. 
“Traders in Maharashtra are exporting the grade 1 crop and dumping the inferior grade produce in Hyderabad, selling it at `30 per kg. Despite our grapes being of high quality, we are unable to compete with that price, as it becomes a losing proposition,” Reddy told TNIE. 

However, experts still believe that the potential for success is high in grapes. Appa Rao points out that though the world average yield is five tonnes per acre, the grapes grown here used to yield around 40 tonnes per acre before 1995, and still farmers were getting 20 tonnes last year and selling them at Rs 50 per kg. 

“Unlike mangoes, grapes don’t ripen after being harvested. This is an advantage for exporting, as their quality can be kept for more than 12 weeks,” he noted. 

Sunanda Rani, district horticulture and sericulture officer, who is on a mission to increase the area under grape cultivation in the district, reiterates that the fruit is an ideal commercial crop for farmers having small land holdings, as its margin of profit is higher when compared to paddy or maize. 

“Many are plotting their lands, building walls and leaving it uncultivated. It could take years till the actual construction starts. At least till then, they can continue farming,” she suggested, adding that only one-fourth of the local demand for grapes is being met by local production, and the rest is being imported from Maharashtra.

However, unless the State government offers subsidies for the initial setting up of grape gardens which could cost Rs 3.5 lakh per acre, subsidies for poles and drip irrigation, and link agriculture/horticulture with the national rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGS) so that the labour cost of Rs 2 lakh per acre can be addressed, it is highly unlikely that farmer may choose grape over ever-increasing land value.  


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp