Agri export study to focus on Maha, Gujarat

PUNE: Agricultural exports from Maharashtra and Gujarat are all set to get a shot in the arm with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) embarking on a study to understand state-specific infrastructural requirements. This could boost the volume and worth of agri-exports from the country.

The three-month study, expected to be carried out by an established consulting firm on behalf of APEDA, will focus on the infrastructure currently facilitating export of agricultural and processed food in the two states and identify gaps in the cold chain system, pre and post-harvest handling facilities, storage and processing requirements and value addition. Shortcomings will be addressed by APEDA using public and public-private partnership (PPP) models.

APEDA's deputy general manager and regional head (west), Sudhanshu, said, "While many facilities have been created over the past couple of years to promote exports, we want to evaluate the infrastructural requirement for the entire supply chain of fresh and processed produce. Maharashtra and Gujarat have been chosen for the study as western India is the biggest hub of exports from the country and we will focus on all sorts of fresh and processed produce, including items like mango, grapes, pomegranate and vegetables."

Interventions in export-intended horticulture and processed food products are also much-needed in sub-sectors of agriculture like infrastructure, quality, logistics, packaging and marketing that would reduce wastages and also enhance the quality of the produce. It is also important to shift focus from commodity trading to value-added products in fresh and processed food, according to APEDA, as it would extend the supply chain to international ports.

Reacting to the initiative, Omkar Sapre, board member of the Devgad Taluka Amba Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit, said, "Such a study should have been undertaken a long time ago as other exporting countries are ahead of India. What is really needed is customized infrastructure, especially for a delicate product like mango. We hardly have the necessary infrastructure in Konkan, the country's biggest alphonso-growing belt. Specific kinds of facilities are required for the fruit's processing and packing."

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