Ganderbal village home to international quality grapes

Ganderbal: Kashmir is well known for some of the best quality fruits but not many are aware of the grapes produced in Repora village of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district which according to some experts exceed international standards.

“A great advantage of Repora grapes is that they are ready when fresh grapes are not available anywhere in the world except Italy. These grapes also fetch a good price in the market – Sahibi for Rs 250 per kg and Hussaini for Rs 200 per kg,” a farmer told a local news gathering agency.

He said the international standard of the best quality grapes is to have a berry size of 4-5 gm and Repora grapes have a size of 12.5 gm exceeding the international standards.

“Grapes are cultivated on around 202 hectares of land in Ganderbal, and in Repora, these are grown on 80-90 hectares which provides livelihood to hundreds of people, especially during harvesting season which begins these days,” the farmer said.

Abdul Rehman, who cultivates grapes on several kanals of his land, said that Kashmiri grapes are known for their sweetness not only in the valley but throughout the country.

Rehman said he works very hard but sometimes they suffer huge loss due to different diseases. “If we will not spray medicines on time, the entire crop will be destroyed and those associated with it will have to suffer the loss of lakhs of rupees,” he said.

Another farmer, Abdul Hameed, said, “Besides Italy, Repora is perhaps the only place in the world where fresh grapes are available in large quantity.”

The grapes in Ganderbal began in the time of Maharaja Hari Singh who first time brought it from Afghanistan to India, the locals said, adding that Maharaja used to grow grapes on his land in Repora which is now under the horticulture department.

The Lar block of Ganderbal is known for the rich production of grapes. Hundreds of kanals of land is utilized to cultivate different varieties of grapes which include Sahibi, Kishmish, Hussaini, Thomson and many more.

The largest production is recorded at Mode vineyard, Kralbagh in the Lar block which has been established by the horticulture department.

Around 203 hectares of land is under grapes production in this yard with an annual production of 1336 metric tonnes, farmers said.

The horticulture department sublets the entire yard to the contractor for cultivation every year and receives a bid amount. (KNO)

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