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India: First Nagpur orange export to Sri Lanka

The first consignment of the Indian local orange variety, Nagpur mandarin, is set for export and expected to reach Sri Lanka by Wednesday. The local orange variety will be used to produce orange juice by the Nanded-based Citrus India plant by the end of the month. A seedless variety of the Nagpur mandarin is also in the offing and was brought out by the citrus research institute recently.

The Nagpur mandarin, although considered a good variety, was not considered viable for the food processing industry due to bitterness caused by the seeds, but Citrus India, the Indian subsidiary of Swiss giant Citrus International (CI), has the technology to overcome the problem, sources said.

“We have been making efforts to export the Nagpur orange, considered the best by many, without much success. The only experiment by late Vasudeorao Deshpande from Varud in Amravati district about 15 years ago did not make any headway. Meanwhile, a few years ago, the state government set up the Karanja centre that never worked. But with Gadkari and State Co-operatives Minister Chandrakant Patil taking the lead, it was restarted. We sent the first consignment of 26 tonnes,” Shridhar Thakre, Executive Director of Maha Orange, a federation of orange co-operatives in the region, told The Indian Express.

The state government has handed over the Karanja export centre to Maha Orange to operate.

“The centre cooled the oranges to six degrees Celsius and wax-coated them and stored them in a container at a cooling facility. The consignment sailed from Mumbai on November 14, and is expected to reach Sri Lanka on November 18. We plan on sending five more containers,” Thakre said. According to Thakre, Lanka gets kinos (a citrus fruit variety) from Pakistan.

“We have sent samples to countries like Dubai, Bahrain and Singapore and expect a favourable response,” he said.


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