Barasat, in the Indian state of West Bengal, is set to see a major boost to the export of vegetables and fruits as the state Food Processing Industries & Horticulture (FPI& H) department is all set to revamp its packhouse facility at Nilganj in Barasat in PPP mode.
Subrata Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary, FPI& H department: "We have already selected the agency by floating a tender that will take up the renovation work. It had been lying unused since the past eight years. The agreement will be signed soon. The packhouse will be equipped with all modern facilities for sorting, grading, testing, packing."
Sources say the packhouse facility that was looked after by an association of exporters had been somewhat derelict as the latter had shifted to a private packhouse for business monopoly. There are small packhouses in the private sector from where presently the items are exported. The Barasat packhouse is the only government facility.
Bengal produced 29.55 million tons of vegetables in 2018-19 and exported 143,000 tons, estimated at Rs 2.58 billion (€28.4 mln). Despite emerging as the top state in vegetable production, Bengal accounts for only around 20 per cent of the country's total exports of fruits and vegetables.
Still, there is a lot of scope for exporting green chillies, okra (ladies finger), all kinds of leafy vegetables, betel leaf, certain varieties of lemon like Gandharaj and Kagaji from Bengal. However, lack of packhouse facilities has been a deterrent.