Grapes farming is a very profitable crop in Pakistan. Different progressive farmers are doing their consistent business with grapes. In Balochistan, grapes are seeming to be native fruit due to the favorable season, but now it is also more successful in Punjab especially in early varieties, which gives the fruiting in May-June. There are many exotic varieties that are cultivated by farmers and could be a better business entity for those who are willing for a grape vineyard orchard. Grapes farming in Punjab is a good incentive for the farmer with early varieties and exotic varieties. In this article, I will discuss grape farming and its essential elements of production. There are the following outlines under which a whole article will be discussed,
- Selection of variety
- Land preparation
- Fertilizer and irrigation
- Plant protection
- Yield and profit
Selection of variety
There are three different kinds of varieties (highly, medium, and lower yielded varieties) depending upon where grapes fruiting occurs in closely spur or node. The variety which has a close distance occurs in spur to spur considered as a high yield variety. It is very important before starting a business that survey an area with a suitable variety. The climate of Punjab is much more different than Balochistan, so there are a lot of varieties that are late in the season and much more suitable under Balochistan climate conditions whereas there are many exotic varieties and seedless which are preferred mostly are early and suitable under Punjab conditions. The first and foremost concern for the farmer is the variety selection. It is suggested that always make a survey for variety with experienced growers and agricultural departments.
Land preparation is done when the farmer is willing to shift the plants in the pits just like in mango and guava. It is very important that land should be fertile and rich in organic matter so that it could fulfill the crop requirement. Before shifting the plants, land should be filled with a well-rotten farmyard and this is a preliminary step because after that when a trailing system will be applied then things will be complicated more. It is very important that when plants should be shifted in the pits. The most suitable time to shift the plants in the pits is March-April. The end of the winter season is the most favorable time to grow deciduous plants. It is suggested that keep line to line distance more so that later other agronomic practices could be done easily. So, for this purpose, plant to plant distance should be 4 ft and line to line distance should be 10 ft. The trailing system or pillars made up of cement should be placed with 30 ft of distance.
Fertilizer and irrigation
It is highly recommended that for the farmer the food and water schedule should be optimum. Grapes’ average life is higher than human life so it is necessary that there should be a proper way for fertilizer and irrigation. Drip irrigation is most suitable for the long average lifespan of fruit crops. Drip irrigation is being subsidies by the government by 60 percent and highly encouraged by the government. This organized system will be planted by the government facility except for 40 % of the financial sharing of the farmer. Drip irrigation system not only reduces the water and food requirement as well as the cost of fertilizer per year. Good subsidies and organized drip irrigation systems regulated on automated systems with solar systems. It remains easier for the farmer to regulate the water and fertilizer interval according to the situation. It is suggested that lowers down the supply of water and fertilizer during the time of flowering and fruiting.
Grapes seem to be tougher to tolerate the harsh environment and more resistant against the pest and diseases. There are very rare chances of any attack of pest and disease, but it is suggested that farmers should be more careful against fungal diseases. It is also important that when grapes start fruiting then insect and pest net should be applied to avoid any birds and pests that may not attack the mature fruiting bunch. Another control is about weeds, which should be done as per condition manually or chemically.
Training and pruning are other practices that are mandatory. There are two types of pruning done by the farmers depending upon the variety in late winter to control the shoots and shape the plant. There are two types one is spur pruning and the other is cane pruning, those varieties which have short internodal or spur distance are known as high yielding variety. In high yield variety, spur pruning is practiced where only 1-2 spurs are allowed to grow on canes and other spurs are trimmed off. Well, as a researcher it is very important to understand the practical technique of pruning.
Note: There should be trained labor for pruning.
Yield and profit
A farmer is more concerned about the yield as well as profit. Yield can be obtained as but on the other hand profit is based on market price. It is advised to the farmer that establishing the entire system for the grapes costs approximately 4 lakhs and when maiden bearing (first fruit-bearing) started plants bear about 15-20 kg of fruit and it will be double in next year.
- Grapes are a more profitable crop in Pakistan.
- 70 % of grapes are being produced in Balochistan.
- Only early varieties can be grown successfully in the Punjab region where it gives fruiting in May.
- There is a huge list of varieties but with the passage of time new and exotic varieties are preferred by experienced growers.
- The most favorable season when plants can be grown is the month of April.
- Plants can be obtained by the nursery as well as its cuttings are also used by the farmers.
- Cuttings are taken at the time of pruning in winter when the plant completely sheds its leaves and buried under soil for callusing which helps in profuse rooting and high germination rate.
- Drip irrigation is a more preferred way for fertilizer and irrigation.
- Pruning is mandatory for grapes in late winter where farmers also can start a business of selling cuttings.
- The initial cost is high for grapes business investment but when the crop gives output then farmers can feel financial relaxation.
I hope this article helps you a lot, always give your thought in the comment section below, and stay tuned!