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Pineapple export zone proposed in Bengal -- MoU to be signed with APEDA soon

Ch. Prashanth Reddy

HYDERABAD, July 31

THE Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the West Bengal Government will be shortly entering into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishing a pineapple export zone in Jalpaiguri area.

According to the APEDA Chairman, Mr Anil Swaroop, the project report is ready and the MoU is expected to be signed during next fortnight.

The agri-export zone, to be set up in an area of 1,000 hectares, is estimated to cost Rs 38 crore. Of this, Rs 30 crore is expected to be invested by the private sector, while the remaining Rs 8 crore will be shared by different Central Government agenci es.

Mr Swaroop told Business Line that to start with, one processing unit with a juice extraction capacity of 5 tonnes per hour would be set up in the proposed export zone. The West Bengal Government had identified two processors but was yet to finalise amon g the two for setting up the unit.

The processing unit is estimated to cost around Rs 13.58 crore. It is expected to be financed through the promoter's investment of Rs 5.44 crore and term loans of Rs 8.15 crore. The Jalpaiguri Horticultural Research and Development Farm will be the nodal research organisation of the pineapple export zone.

Mr Swaroop said similar agri-export zones for different products were coming up in various States. While the Tamil Nadu Government would be establishing a floriculture export zone, the Karnataka Government would set up different export zones for gherkins , pomogranates, rose onions, grapes and mangoes.

In Uttar Pradesh also separate agri-export zones are being set up for floriculture, mangoes, menthol and bovine meat. A litchi export zone will be coming up in Bihar and vegetables export zone is being established in Punjab. In Maharashtra, there will be two agri-export zones for grapes and floriculture. In Himachal Pradesh, an export zone for apples and apple-related wines would be set up.

The APEDA Chairman said that Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh, where high-value crops were being grown under an Israeli demonstration project, should be converted into an agri-export zone. Similarly, a mangoes export zone could be established in Vijayawada.

The concept of an agri-export zone, according to him, is an attempt to take a comprehensive look at a particular produce located in a contiguous area for the purpose of developing and sourcing the raw materials, their processing and packaging leading to final exports.

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