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The last three months have been exceptionally good for the export facilitation centres run by the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB). The 21 centers have witnessed processing of agricultural commodities worth Rs 26.55 crore and the total quantum of produce exported from the centres stood at 2,761.41 tonne. Sunil Pawar, managing director of the MSAMB, said most of the commodities processed at the centres were headed to Germany, Netherlands, Thailand, Doha, and USA. “Grapes, roses, pomegranate, spices, animal fodder etc were the main produce handled in these centres,” he said. These centres are at present being run by farmer’s groups and exporters on a private public partnership model. Other than the export facilitation centers, the Board runs fruits and vegetables centres as well as a flower facilitation centre.
The combined capacity of these centres is around 1,000 tonne. In the last three months, produce worth Rs 1.88 crore was processed in these centres for sale in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Bengaluru. When it comes to fresh agri produce, reports suggested that the state records a wastage of 30 per cent of the produce. The state annually produces 204 lakh tonne of fresh produce of which 30 per cent is wasted in handling and storage.
Known as the fruit bowl of India, the major produce from the state includes grapes, mangoes and pomegranates.
Also the regions of Pune, Nashik, Satara, Kolhapur, Sangli are known for their extensive vegetable cultivation. Just about 1.2 per cent of fruits and vegetables are processed in the state with the majority being consumed fresh.
Over the last few months, the Board has taken initiatives to help farmers increase avenues for marketing. In this regard, the special marketing agents have been appointed in major markets outside Maharashtra. Such agents will be working on identifying the necessary trade channels required to help farmers from Maharashtra gain a foothold there.