For the first time, the west of Asia has emerged as a prospective major market for Indian oranges as growers began to treat the citrus fruit with a wax coating, officials of the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) said.
Up until now, India has exported oranges to Bangladesh only. Last week, the first consignment of 15.5 tonne of oranges from Amravati were sent via the sea route to Dubai from the Vashi facility of MSAMB. A total of 1,500 crates were loaded in the refrigerated container from Vanguard Health Care (VHT) facility.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, production of the Nagpur mandarin fruit crop in central and western part of India is increasing every year. Mrig crop (monsoon blossom), which matures from February to March, has great potential for export since arrivals of the fruit in international market decrease during this period.
Sunil Pawar, MD, MSAMB, said the wax coating or layer of wax on the fruit not only lends it a gloss but also increases its shelf life by another month. Since respiration of the fruit stops due to the coating, the weight loss of the fruit is also prevented, he said. Although Indian oranges are known for their flavour, these often rot in transit due to loose jackets and exporters therefore often end up losing.
Orange is an major horticultural crop in Wardha, Nagpur, Amravati and other districts of the Vidarbha region of the state. The citrus fruit is exported to Bangladesh with nearly 100-200 tonne by road.