The government of Maharashtra is planning to give an extra push to raisin and jaggery exports from the state. This is part of the state government’s initiative, which was jointly planned with APEDA, to set up over 18 clusters in the state for the export of chemical-residue-free vegetables and fruits. The Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) had called for a coordination meeting of various stakeholders including processors, exporters, suppliers, farmers to chalk out an action plan to encourage exports of these two commodities from the state.
Maharashtra accounts for nearly 75-80% of the country’s raisin production and exported 23,720.90 tonnes of raisins in 2019-20. Raisin production in the state had gone up to about 2.10 lakh tonnes in 2019-20 from an average annual production of 1.80 lakh tonnes in 2018-19, senior MSAMB officials said. Kolhapur is a major jaggery production centre in the state with nearly 1250 jaggery production units. In 2019-20, around 341,155 tonnes of jaggery were exported from the country with Sri Lanka being the biggest buyer at some 51,210 tonnes. Raisin exports on the other hand remained subdued at 24,668 tonnes in 2019-20.
The Middle East and Europe are main markets for raisins from the state and, therefore, APEDA has been holding meetings with stakeholders in Sangli, a major raisin production centre in Maharashtra, Prashant Waghmare, assistant general manager, APEDA, western region said. An attempt is being made to bring farmer producer companies and exporters together and also address issues related to residues in the commodity, he said. A similar effort is being made in Kolhapur that houses majority of jaggery production units, he said.
India is the world’s largest producer of jaggery accounting for 60% of the global output with Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra being the top producing states. India accounted for 8.17 million tonnes of global gur production of 13.6 million tonnes. Today jaggery from Kolhapur are being exported in great quantities to Europe, Middle East Asia, and parts of South East Asia, he said.
The EU, Japan, the US, Australia and many other advanced economies are wary of invasive species of insects and pathogens, which may come with agriculture produces. 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 Govind Hande, export advisor to Maharashtra government said earlier. “In the last 10 years, several infrastructure facilities have been created including radiation and hot water treatment for mangoes and onions. The State also has15 labs, which can certify the absence of farm chemical residues. Of the total pack house in the country, 80% are in Maharashtra. The idea is to further increase the number of such infrastructure facilities. “he said.
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