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Former Union Agri Minister Advice Grape Growers to Boost Europe Exports

PUNE: Former Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told grape growers in the Maharashtra to meet commerce minister Suresh Prabhu and discuss plans to boost the fruit’s export to new markets in southeast Asia and Europe.

While addressing a gathering of grape cultivators in Pune, Pawar said, “Union commerce ministry can play a vital role in opening up the new markets for the fruit’s exports.”

He said that, India’s share in the international export market for grapes was still around 6-7%.

While expressing the need for a continuous dialogue between farmers and research institutes to introduce export-quality varieties of the fruit, Pawar said, “There is a huge scope for rise in exports to the international market. The cultivators can also reap gains after introducing newer varieties of grapes in the domestic market.”

The Nationalist Congress Party chief said, “Grape cultivation is no more confined to western Maharashtra districts like Nashik, Pune and Sangli. Farmers from Buldhana, Latur and Jalna are also opting for it. These farmers should get appropriate advice from experts working in the governmentfunded research institutes on newer varieties, scientific farming methods and low-cost farming.”

Pawar said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away on August 16, played a vital role in increasing cotton production in India. He also said, “We had met Vajpayee in 2000, after which Bt cotton was introduced. Though there have been debates over Bt cotton, the cotton production has increased and benefited cultivators to a large extent.”


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