There is a significant potential for boosting exports of fruits and vegetables from Vidarbha region of Maharastra, Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India said today.
“In order to achieve higher exports, farmers have to adopt latest technology in agriculture and they have to be open to new research findings and adopting innovative farming practices as has been done in the grape-growing areas of Nashik in Maharashtra,” Gadkari said at an outreach programme on “Export Potential for Agri Crops, Fruits & Vegetables” in Amravati, Maharashtra.
The programme for boosting exports of citrus fruits and vegetables was organized by APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) – an organization under Department of Commerce, in association with Agrovision.
Stating that GI tagged Nagpur orange is grown in more than 70,000 hectares in Amravati Region, Gadkari said there is huge potential for export of Nagpur Oranges and other citrus fruits from the Region. Since Nagpur Orange is a GI product, it can also be sold at a premium, he pointed out. However, he also urged the scientists that R&D needs to be done for this sector in terms of increasing the yield, varietal improvement and value addition.
Gadkari stated that while exports of Indian mandarin have doubled in the last two years, manifold increase in the exports can be achieved only through required R&D and value addition. The minister appreciated the efforts of APEDA in terms of capacity building of the stakeholders, required infrastructure development, quality up-gradation and promotions abroad. He urged APEDA to organize more capacity building programmes for the stakeholders for getting the required information and knowledge.
Exports of citrus fruits from India in 2019-20 stood at Rs329.32 crore and reached Rs 590.4 crore in 2020-21. The main markets were Bangladesh, Nepal, UAE and Bhutan, among others.
Gadkari emphasized on the right selection of planting material for GI tagged Nagpur Orange when targeting the export market and called for concerted focus to grow organic produce. The minister also exhorted farmers and exporters to comply with the norms of importing countries in packaging and to increase farm the productivity without compromising on the quality parameters in food safety aspects so as to ensure better realization for their produce. He also mentioned that use of drone technology for spraying of agrochemicals can reduce farm losses up to 70% when compared to current agronomical practices. Similarly, use of good packaging material also helps to minimize the post-export handling issues, Gadkari noted.
APEDA signed an MoU with Agrovision, which will facilitate and become an extended arm of APEDA in conducting capacity building programmes for the entrepreneurs, FPCs, FPOs and other stakeholders.
The programme was attended by a large number of FPOs, FPCs, Entrepreneurs, Startups, Young Buddy Entrepreneurs, State Government Officials, NGOs, Cooperatives and Technical Scientists. In the Technical Session, information was shared on norms for quality improvement, importing country protocols, new technical development, etc.