Orange growers expect better prices, thanks to MahaOrange

By: | Published: December 31, 2014 1:48 AM

Prices of oranges have been volatile and have fallen by 40-45% in Maharashtra this season...

Orange growers in Maharashtra can finally look forward to getting good rates, with MahaOrange, the apex body promoted by Maharashtra State Agri-produce Marketing Board (MSAMB), taking on the onus for the same.

MahaOrange has signed an MoU with MSAMB to run the export facilitation centre at Karanja Ghadage, Nagpur, and expects grading, packaging and branding of oranges to make a difference to prices.

Exports are expected to begin from the coming Mrig Bahar season that starts in March 2015. This year, the farmers have decided to tap West Asia and plan to send a pilot consignment to see how Indian oranges are received in these markets, Anant Gharad, chairman, MahaOrange, said. Oranges from Pakistan and New Zealand are popular in these parts.

Prices of oranges have been volatile and fallen by 40-45%  in Maharashtra this season in light of a bumper crop. This season’s prices have dipped to R8000-14,000 per tonne as against R15,000-22,000 per tonne in the same period last year, Gharad added. MahaOrange will purchase oranges from farmers and then establish a marketing chain. The fruit will be purchased, packed and graded according to quality in three categories: Grade A which are top quality oranges, Grade B which are a little lower and Grade C, which are usually meant for the food processing industry. “This way, farmers can be guaranteed better prices since rates will be fixed as per the category, he said.

MahaOrange has created a group of farmers who are ready to sell their produce to the apex body and the expectation is that more farmers will join as the effort takes off.

According to Gharad, farmers can hope to get better prices in March since the produce is limited. The export facilitation centre at Karanja has the capacity to precool around 6 tonne of oranges per hour, carry out grading of 2 tonne per hour, provide a wax coating in addition to a cold storage capacity of 25 tonne.

Indian oranges are usually exported to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Nepal. However, this year the exports have not been satisfactory due to fall in international rates.

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