Cradle of grapes: Kashmir’s Repora reaps benefit of bumper production

Published on Aug 25, 2022 07:24 AM IST

On the foothills of Great Himalayan range mountains in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, a small picturesque hamlet Repora is known for its pleasing grapes across J&K and almost every household here cultivates grapes which are now turning to be a new cash crop

The grapes and sweetness of Ganderbal’s Repora village has been mentioned some 600 years ago by a famous sufi saint of Kashmir, Shiekh Noorudin Wali in his poetry. (HT Photo)
The grapes and sweetness of Ganderbal’s Repora village has been mentioned some 600 years ago by a famous sufi saint of Kashmir, Shiekh Noorudin Wali in his poetry. (HT Photo)
ByMir Ehsan, (repora) Ganderbal

On the foothills of Great Himalayan range mountains in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, a small picturesque hamlet Repora is known for its pleasing grapes across J&K and almost every household here cultivates grapes which are now turning to be a new cash crop.

The grapes and sweetness of this village has been mentioned some 600 years ago by a famous sufi saint of Kashmir, Shiekh Noorudin Wali in his poetry. And villagers claim since then this place is known for its finest grapes. Presently, villagers here cultivate varieties like Hussaini, Sahibi, Kishmish, Anabeshai and Ruby and once the crop is ready, there is beeline of customers to fetch the yield. The bunches of the grape varieties could be found hanging in every village household and orchards are full with grapes which catches attention of every passerby.

Such is the love for grapes, a “special day” named after this fruit was celebrated in the first week of August while saw officials and villagers gather at a grape orchard of the village to highlight the importance of this fruit.

In Kashmir as per the official estimates, the grapes are cultivated on almost 500 to 600 hectares of land and production goes up to 1,100 to 1,500 MT every year. In Repora alone, the production touches from 750 to 900 MT. (HT Photo)
In Kashmir as per the official estimates, the grapes are cultivated on almost 500 to 600 hectares of land and production goes up to 1,100 to 1,500 MT every year. In Repora alone, the production touches from 750 to 900 MT. (HT Photo)
In Kashmir as per the official estimates, the grapes are cultivated on almost 500 to 600 hectares of land and production goes up to 1,100 to 1,500 MT every year. In Repora alone, the production touches from 750 to 900 MT. (HT Photo)
In Kashmir as per the official estimates, the grapes are cultivated on almost 500 to 600 hectares of land and production goes up to 1,100 to 1,500 MT every year. In Repora alone, the production touches from 750 to 900 MT. (HT Photo)
In Kashmir as per the official estimates, the grapes are cultivated on almost 500 to 600 hectares of land and production goes up to 1,100 to 1,500 MT every year. In Repora alone, the production touches from 750 to 900 MT. (HT Photo)
In Kashmir as per the official estimates, the grapes are cultivated on almost 500 to 600 hectares of land and production goes up to 1,100 to 1,500 MT every year. In Repora alone, the production touches from 750 to 900 MT. (HT Photo)

Sarpanch Repora, Habibullah Magray who owns a small grape orchard close to his two storey house says that every house here has a grape plantation. “Some own big plots of grapes spread over few hectares of land and some use their kitchen gardens for grape cultivation. Our production is in tons from this village alone. The climate of our village is feasible for grape cultivation,” he says and adds that such is the love for grapes that with every passing year more and more villagers cultivate this fruit to make the money.

The village which gets its water through an irrigation canal plays an important role in its production and cultivation. “After irrigation canal, the production of grapes has increased as during dry spell the trees used to get irrigated time to time.” Magrey, however, said that government should try to introduce new techniques and farming methods to enhance the production of grapes. “Grapes are our specialty and government should try to give more incentives to the villagers.”

In Kashmir as per the official estimates, the grapes are cultivated on almost 500 to 600 hectares of land and production goes upto 1100 to 1500 MT every year, alone in Repora the production touches from 750 to 900 MT and the fruit is cultivated on 850 to 900 hectares of land. The grapes produced in the village are sold between 200 to 350 per kilogram depending on the quality of the fruit.

Grapes are usually ready for harvest in the early September, however, this year due rise in the temperature, growers have already completed the harvest and sold most of their produce. (HT Photo)
Grapes are usually ready for harvest in the early September, however, this year due rise in the temperature, growers have already completed the harvest and sold most of their produce. (HT Photo)
Grapes are usually ready for harvest in the early September, however, this year due rise in the temperature, growers have already completed the harvest and sold most of their produce. (HT Photo)
Grapes are usually ready for harvest in the early September, however, this year due rise in the temperature, growers have already completed the harvest and sold most of their produce. (HT Photo)
Grapes are usually ready for harvest in the early September, however, this year due rise in the temperature, growers have already completed the harvest and sold most of their produce. (HT Photo)
Grapes are usually ready for harvest in the early September, however, this year due rise in the temperature, growers have already completed the harvest and sold most of their produce. (HT Photo)

Abdul Rahim Bhat, who owns one of the finest grape orchards is satisfied with the production. “We use minimal pesticides in our orchards at times we don’t use anything and our production is increasing day by day. The growers here have slowly replaced old techniques by the new ones. The introduction of trellis system and hail nets has helped in production and its safeguards and our next target is to go for organic grapes,” says Bhat who was busy in the reaping harvest. “Earlier, we used to send our grapes to Srinagar fruit mandi, now the customers lineup outside our orchards. Whenever grapes are ready, the customers are waiting to buy the crop. Alone more than 20 to 30 tons of grapes are harvested from my orchards.”

Grapes are usually ready for harvest in the early September, however, this year due rise in the temperature, growers have already completed the harvest and sold most of their produce.

While the grape orchards in the village are flourshing, a big orchard managed by the J&K’s horticulture department at neighbouring Kralbagh that is spread over 3.5 hectares of land presents a shabby look as the matured grape trees have got effected with disease and the harvest is less than 75% compared to previous years. “Everywhere the harvest is good but not in our orchard. We purchased grapes of this orchard from government with a hope of earning money, unfortunately we lost our hard-earned money. This is the only orchard in entire district which has very less grapes,” said Mudasir who was packing the grapes along with a labourer.

Dr Farooq Ahmad Ahanger, specialist plant protection, krishi vigyan kendra, Ganderbal who has helped villagers in enhancing the production said that they have been conducting studies on how to improve quality and quantity of grapes in the region from past many years. “Of late the area for grape cultivation in the village has increased. The climate and soil of the village is favourable for the grape cultivation,” he said. “We have devised spray schedules after proper research that has also helped in production.”

Former legislator, Ganderbal Shiekh Ishfaq Jabbar admits that his area is known for its grapes. “The government should try to lift this fruit by providing growers with facilities like refrigiration vans and cold storage facilities, besides introduction of latest techniques. Our production could increase manifold and could become reason for the good employment generation in future.”

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