3-day grape mela at Lalbagh from Feb 23

The most-awaited grape mela is back. It will be held at Lalbagh Botanical Garden and at all Horticultural Producers Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society (Hopcoms) outlets starting February 23.

The fair is usually conducted in the first or second week of February. But this time, the Horticulture Department will host it in the third week of the month. That is because the season has picked up only now, say officials.

“As the temperature rises, the sweetness in the fruit also increases and so this is the right time. The prolonged winter did not have much of an impact on the production. But it has affected the sweetness in the fruit. That is why some varieties are expensive,” said Hopcoms president Chandre Gowda.

At Lalbagh, the mela will be held until February 25. At Hopcoms outlets, it will continue until May, when mangoes will hit the market. Hopcoms will offer a 10% discount on grapes.

M R Chandrashekhar, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department, said it was the right time to host the mela as it was mid-season.

Gowda said that around 18 locally grown varieties would be displayed and sold at the mela. Farmers have experimented and produced four new varieties in the Krishna belt which will be up for sale, he added.

“The production of seedless grapes in Vijayapura, Bagalkot and Chikkaballapur has been good this time. Around 2,000 acres were sown with the seedless variety in North Karnataka. Normally, the yield is expected to be 20 tonnes per acre, but this time it hovered around 15-18 tonnes per acre. So far, four tonnes of seedless grapes have been exported to European and Gulf countries form Bagalkot and Vijayapura through Maharashtra,” Gowda said.

He continued: “Normally, Karnataka produces around 600 tonnes of grapes. But this time, farmers are expecting 1,000 tonnes because of the delayed summer and ongoing prolonged dry spell, which will enhance the flavour in the fruit, making it bigger and juicier.”

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