1. Agriculture World

Maharashtra to Export of Chemical-Residue-Free Vegetables and Fruits

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Govind Hande, Maharashtra Government, Export Adviser told media that the state accounted for 65 percent of the country’s fruit and 55 percent of vegetable exports. Last year around 2.5 lakh tonnes of grapes, worth about Rs. 2,300 crore, about 50,000 tonnes of mangoes (Rs. 406 crore) and 67,000 tonnes of pomegranates (Rs. 688 crore) were exported. Moreover export of 15 lakh tonnes of onions earned Rs. 3,500 crore. He said Maharashtra Government is keen to raise its exports.

Hence Maharashtra Government, along with APEDA is planning to set up over 18 clusters in the State for export of chemical-residue-free vegetables & fruits. The clusters will also ensure that the agriculture products meet the phytosanitary norms of developed countries.

Phytosanitary measures are basically for the control of plant diseases & pathogens. Without residue-free and phytosanitary certifications, Customs clearance at foreign ports is not possible.

State Government and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority will review the agri export capability of every district & help create infrastructure such as warehouses, distribution centres, packhouses and quality testing facilities, Hande said.

The EU, the US, Japan, Australia and many other advanced economies are wary of persistent species of insects & pathogens that may come with agriculture products. They also have low tolerance to certain agrochemical residue. These countries even insist on the wood used for packaging being free of insects and chemicals.

In the past 10 years, several infrastructure facilities have been created including radiation & hot water treatment for mangoes and onions. The State also has fifteen labs, which can certify the absence of farm chemical residues. Of the total pack house in India, 80% are in Maharashtra. The idea is to further increase the number of such infrastructure facilities, Hande said.

The District Collector would head the clusters. And for this preliminary work has already started in Sangli, Solapur & Nashik.

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