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Grape grown in the Tropics

The grapevine is probably the most widely grown temperate fruit crop in the tropics and subtropics with a total world production of over 3 million tonnes. Currently India with a production of over one million tonnes is the major world producer followed by Brazil producing somewhat less than one million tonnes in the tropics. Other tropical producers include Yemen 163,000, Peru 136,000, Thailand 40,000, Colombia 19,000, Tanzania 14,000, and Venezuela 11,500 tonnes. Some are also produced in the tropical parts of both Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Many tropical countries produce small amounts of table grapes for local consumption.

 Growing grape in india

Before 1960, table grapes were imported from the United States and Australia to Thailand, incurring high costs. At that time more than one hundred varieties were also introduced for testing from the United States and other countries. It was found that grapes can be adapted and grown well in the country. In 1956, Professor Pavin Punsri and his colleagues of the Department of Horticulture, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, tried to study and solve the problems of grape culture. The grape industry in Thailand has been a success since this time. The initial commercial table grape production areas were located in the Central Plain region at Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram provinces, which are near Bangkok. At present, the grape industry has expanded to the Northern, Northeastern and the Western regions.

Grape cultivation is one of the most remunerative farming enterprises in India. Cultivated grapes are believed to have been introduced into the north of India by the Persian invaders in 1300 AD, from where they were introduced into the south during the historic event of changing the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad by King Mohammed-bin-Tughlak. Ibn Batuta, a Moorish traveller who visited Daulatabad in 1430 AD, reported to have seen flourishing vineyards in south India. Grape was also introduced in the south into Salem and Madurai districts of Tamil Nadu by the Christian missionaries around 1832 AD, and into Hyderabad province by HEH, the Nizam of Hyderabad in the early part of the 20th century. From Delhi, Daulatabad, Madurai, Salem and Hyderabad, grape cultivation spread to different parts of the country.

 Growing grape in Thailand

Grapes can be grown in the Philippines. This has been proven in Arevalo, Iloilo, La Union and Cebu where they have been growing grapes since 1950. Grapes like terrain that is somewhat sloping so as not to lodge water and hurt the roots. Grapes grow best in areas with warm and dry climate and where sufficient irrigation is available. Places frequently by typhoon and continuous rain are least suitable. Suitable regions for grape production are western parts of Luzon, Palawan, Mindoro, Panay and Negros Occidental. Growing conditions, however, vary depending on the variety. Most commercial vineyards are below 1,000 feet in elevation, some almost at sea level.

Muscadines variety are well adapted to the warm, humid conditions and therefore will grow well in all humid areas of tropical Asian countries including Australia where European grapes are unsuitable. Both east and west coasts and through the “top end” provide the climatic requirements for growing muscadines successfully. Ripe grapes are sweet and juicy with a distinctive fruity flavour. Vigorous self fertile vine with medium sized (15-20mm), round golden-bronze fruit when ripe. It can set a small percentage of smaller seedless fruit. Highly disease resistant and should not require spraying making them ideal for coastal subtropical climates.

 Growing grape in the tropics

Growing grapes from seeds is not the ideal way of reproducing a grape vine as the genetics of a variety is not completely carried over by the seeds – in other words, if you plant a Concord seed, and you successfully get the seed to germinate, the chances are good that the new grape vine will not have all the true Concord characteristics! This is a very time consuming process as it can take up to three years to propagate a new grape vine from seeds. Another big problem with growing grapes from seeds is the fact that a very low percentage of the seeds will germinate. The grape seed is covered with a very tough seed coat that keeps the seed dormant until ideal conditions for germination.

Should you decide to grow grapes, several factors would have to be considered.

1. Location. As mentioned above, the local climate will determine which varieties would grow best in your area. Grapes vary in flavor, color, size and texture. Some are sweet and ideal for the table, others are best suited for jellies, juices and wines.

2. Sun. Grapes require full sun. If you don’t have a spot in your yard that’s sunny all day, find a place where it can at least receive the morning sun.

3. Air flow. Good air circulation helps to prevent funguses from attacking your vine. Find an area away from trees, tall brush or buildings that can block breezes from blowing into your vine.

 Grapevine pruning

The secret to growing very productive grapes is good pruning. It’s probably the most important and demanding task you’ll have to do in caring for your vines. Note that fruit is produced from the current season’s growth, which in turn grew from the previous season’s wood. So don’t be afraid to remove up to 90 percent of last season’s growth – your grapes will grow better because of it. Heavy pruning produces the best quality fruit, while light pruning results in large yields of poor quality. Also, if you want to produce bigger fruits, cut off every third bunch the moment they form so that more energy goes into developing the remaining fruits.

Pacu Jaya

Pacu Jaya

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