For the first time, litchi produced in Malda is all set to be exported to other countries of the Middle East and Europe, thanks to the initiative of the district horticulture department and the state government.
Despite being in the export region for the last 15 years, unlike mango, this juicy fruit grown in Malda, especially the Bombai variety, is yet to be exported. However, it is learnt that requisition for the same from Bahrain and London have already reached here this year.
According to the horticulture department and exporters, they have begun preparations for the export in earnest. Horticulture department officials said around 10 tons of litchi will be exported to Central Asia and Europe this year. Officials of the West Bengal Exporter Co-ordination Committee, a major exporter of the state, have expressed interest in exporting the Malda litchi, it is learnt. The fruit from here will go to other countries through them. The horticulture department said a large quantity of the fruit has been cultivated in Kaliachak Block I, II and III, and Chanchal and Ratua Blocks. The fruit has already hit the market this year, and it is learnt that the demand for the fruit is good as it is being sold for Rs 60 to 70 per kilogram.
According to Liaqat Ali and Hafizul Sheikh, litchi farmers of the Mozampur area in ??Kaliachak I block, litchi grown in the district had not found the foreign market in the past. "We have learnt that litchi is being exported outside India this time. If this is the case, Malda litchi cultivation will help the farmers grow financially. The interest of farmers in litchi cultivation will also go up,” a farmer said.
Secretary of the State West Bengal Exporter Co-ordination Committee Ujjal Saha, said, “After around 15 years, Malda litchi is going to be exported to Central Asia and Europe.
We have already planned to export 10 tons of litchi to Bahrain. Due to the cooperation of the state government, a large quantity of Malda litchi is being exported abroad this year. As a result, many farmers are likely to benefit financially. If we can capture the litchi market in foreign countries, the farmers here will be more interested in litchi production in the future and they will benefit financially, as the Bombai variety of the fruit with its big size, juicy and attractive colour can be a market leader.”
According to the Deputy Director of the district horticulture department, Samanta Layek, various steps like training of litchi growers and visits by exporters to orchards were conducted for the purpose with help from the APEDA. “The pack house here is ready for the fruits to be treated, like sulphur fumigation, the post-harvest handling of the fruits to eliminate fungus from the skin of the litchi. We have got requisition for the fruit London and Bahrain so far,” he said.