Home grown vegetables to hit European market

Home grown vegetables to hit European market

Karnataka will soon be competing with Kerala and Tamil Nadu in exporting fresh vegetables to the Middle East and European countries.

The Agriculture and Processed food products Export Development Authority (APEDA) along with the State Horticulture department is drawing up a plan to start export of fresh vegetables from the State.

“Vegetables grown in Mandya, Kolar, Haveri and Belgaum districts have been chosen for export. We want to set up basic infrastructure facilities in these places for this purpose,” said APEDA Assistant General Manager R Ravindra.

At present, merchants from Kerala and Tamil Nadu procure vegetables from farmers in Srirangapatna (Mandya) and Malur (Kolar) and merchants from Mumbai buy a large quantity of red chillies from Haveri and fresh vegetables from Belgaum.

A large quantity of these vegetables are being exported mainly to European and Middle East countries. Drumsticks, bitter gourd, okra and red chillies are in great demand in these countries. Though Karnataka produces 70 lakh metric tonnes of vegetables annually and some of the best quality vegetables are grown in  the State, it is yet to cash in on the foreign market, Ravindra said.

The APEDA along with the State Horticulture department wants to set up infrastructure facilities like collection centres, packaging units and cold storage units to help farmers sell their produce to exporters directly.

At a meeting conducted recently, the APEDA asked exporters to buy the produce directly from farmers. And they have agreed, Ravindra said. “Farmers get better returns if they sell ready-to-export vegetables directly to the exporters. But due to the absence of infrastructure facilities and access to exporters, farmers are not getting the best prices,” he said.

Fresh vegetables need to be packed properly soon after the harvest in order to maintain quality. If the transportation is delayed, it should be stored in a cold storage unit and farmers need training in all these aspects. The APEDA has, therefore, asked the State Horticulture department to prepare a proposal for setting up infrastructure facilities.

Based on the proposal, the APEDA will finalise the main plan and the investment plan for the project. The expenses will be shared in the ratio of 75:25 by the APEDA and the State Horticulture department. The infrastructure facilities are expected to be ready in six months’ time.

Highlights

* Government to start export of fresh vegetables soon
* Vegetables grown in Mandya, Kolar, Haveri and Belgaum have been identified for export
* Drumstick, bitter gourd, okra and red chillies are in great demand in the Middle East and European countries

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