In a first, Kew pineapples from Cachar sent to Dubai

In what could be a first major move, a consignment of 15 metric tonnes of organically cultivated pineapples from Cachar district has been exported to the global market in Dubai.

According to Jakir Hussain Choudhury, District Agriculture Officer, the move has been initiated by the Directorate of Horticulture, Assam and executed through the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

“Following the Government move, we are acting as positive catalysts towards facilitating the much needed export of the Kew variety of pineapples, widely grown across North East and mostly cultivated in Hmarkhawlien area of Lakhipur under Cachar district. It is a pilot run when the pineapples will reach the international market in Dubai via Mumbai. If the effort pays off in the global arena with people enjoying the taste of the pineapples from here, new vistas will open for around 2000 farmers of the region engaged in organic cultivation,” Choudhury said on Monday.

The consignment of the big-sized pineapples was sent in a refrigerator truck from here after several rounds of cleaning, processing and packaging to meet international standards. Once it reaches Mumbai, the parameters for sending the consignment off-shore will again undergo fresh assessment, the District Agriculture Officer mentioned.

It may be mentioned that pineapples from Lakhipur are a popular fruit in the markets across Barak Valley and price of a pair of big-size pineapple range from Rs 50-60 as compared to smaller sized pairs at Rs 30-40. The pineapple variety is cultivated across 1500 hectares of land with an average production of 40,000 metric tonnes during the May-July season every year, Choudhury informed.

Meanwhile, Cachar Deputy Commissioner Laya Madduri who flagged off the maiden export of the consignent shared her happiness with reporters saying, “it is a welcome move, much needed to boost the confidence of the farmers of Hmarkhawlien here. We have been making efforts to take the produce outside the State and even to other countries for a long time. However, lack of effective planning and many other factors acted as deterrents towards the objectives. We are organising training sessions for the farmers on grading, processing and other aspects and have a lot to do for them. If the pilot test works, I hope that the sweet taste of the fruit from Cachar shall bring smiles for all of us.”

L Nungsang Hmar, chairman of Hmar Agro Organic Producer Company Limited, which is closely associated with the drive to export the produce has appreciated the move and urged the Government to set up a Food Processing unit at Hmarkhawlien. Source: Assam Tribune SILCHAR, July 8, 2019.

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