The Maharashtra government has taken a slew of measures to promote the export of fruits and vegetables. In the last three months, the state has shipped around 2761.41 tonne fruits and vegetables valued at Rs 2,655.34 lakh through various export facilitation centres set up by the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB). Maharashtra has exported mangoes, grapes, pomegranates, oranges, bananas, onion as well as vegetables such as lady finger, bitter gourd, drum sticks, green chillies among others to the European Union, Thailand, Netherlands, Doha, Bahrain and the US. Sunil Pawar, managing director of MSAMB, said that the marketing board has established 44 facilities across the state, which include cold storage units, pre-cooling units and ripening chambers to encourage exports. “At least 20 facilitation centres have been opened for fruits and vegetables and three centres for flower exports,” he said. According to Pawar, these centres are run on PPP mode by farmer producer companies, farmer groups, cooperative societies and agriculture produce market committees. The centres are also used for transportation of fruits and vegetables within the country. In the last three months, MSAMB has facilitated the sale of 796.10 tonne of agri products valued at Rs 188.11 lakh to Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Bengaluru, he said, adding that these centres have generated employment for more than 1,900 people.
With the mango season just beginning, MSAMB has set an export target of more than 52,000 tonne through these facilities. The first consignment of 12,000 kg of alphanso has already left for Italy and more exports are expected as the season progresses. Pawar said that last year around 52,000 tonne was exported to various countries, and as a good season is expected this year, a 15% rise is expected in mango exports. This year, total production is expected to touch 4 lakh tonne. Export to the US is expected to begin from April 1, while the shipment to Australia is expected to start from March 15. Japan and Korea are other major markets of Indian alphanso. MSAMB with the help of APEDA has set up temperature control pack house along with packing line, pre cooling and cold storage at Vashi, Navi Mumbai for the exporters. Besides, the vapour heat treatment (VHT) facility has also been set up with the help of APEDA.
To export different fruits and vegetables to Japan, it is mandatory to treat the products through this facility. Fruits such as mango, melon, papaya, guava and various vegetables are treated in VHT. The MSAMB and APEDA have jointly set up the first semi-commercial VHT facility at APMC Mumbai, Vashi. The VHT facility is set up as a common service facility. The facility is useful in checking oriental fruit fly in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the alphonso and kesar variety of mango for export. VHT is a mandatory requirement while exporting to Japan.
The MSAMB has also promoted an organisation called MAHAGRAPES to boost the export of grapes. MAHAGRAPES is regularly exporting around 100-120 containers to Europe and Middle East. MSAMB has exported pomegranate containers to UAE. Initially the demand was only in Gulf countries, but now the market is extended up to European countries as well. MSAMB has exported lemons and sweet lime through mix container to Dubai. In addition to these, Nagpur Mandarins have been sent to UAE and Holland among other countries.