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Mosambi, sitaphal to be promoted at global level

Mosambi, sitaphal to be promoted at global level
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Sweet lime mosambi and custard apple sitaphal, known for their high nutritional values and grown abundantly in Telangana, will soon be promoted at the...

Hyderabad: Sweet lime (mosambi) and custard apple (sitaphal), known for their high nutritional values and grown abundantly in Telangana, will soon be promoted at the global level for consumption as health enhancers, a la New Zealand’s Kiwi and China’s Dragon fruit.

Telangana is currently the largest producer of sweet lime and custard apple. With the state government finding immense business potential in international markets, the food processing industry is now on overdrive, thanks to instructions from Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao to the authorities concerned to come up with an action plan to promote the domestic fruit varieties in international markets.

Sweet lime orchards abound in erstwhile Nalgonda district because of conducive climatic conditions, while custard apples of large size are cultivated in the forest regions of erstwhile Mahabubnagar district. These have now been identified for promotion at international level as ‘Telangana fruits.’

Presently those engaged in cultivation of sweet lime and custard apple are among the worst affected in the farming community due to non-availability of minimum support price during the seasons. As things stand, the only solution to lessen these farmers’ mounting financial burden is to effectively market their produce at national and international levels, state Horticulture Department officials said.

So, the government has decided to set up cold storage units in the two districts for sweet lime and custard apple so that the produce could be readily moved to other States or exported to cater to international markets.

In the second phase, food processing units will come up in the two districts to manufacture products like juices and other packaged fruit extracts. Currently, there is huge demand for juices made of sweet lime and custard apple in several international markets as more and more health-conscious people are consuming it. During off-season periods, India imports custard apple from New Zealand and makes them available in Hyderabad.

So far, no state has exported the two unique fruit varieties and their by-products. Telangana wants to exploit the world market and be the number one state in fruit exports all through the year by setting up cold storage and food processing units. The only challenge before the government is to create appropriate marketing facilities for exporting the naturally grown fruits and their by-products in domestic and international markets, officials explained.

The State Horticulture Department has already been tasked to find suitable platforms to promote the fruits in international super markets, initially in South Asia countries and then in other parts of the world. The department will hold meetings with orchard farmers soon and explain them the government’s plan to make cultivation of these ‘Telangana fruits’ lucrative.

Red chilli grown in Khammam, dry ginger cultivated in Sangareddy district, tamarind from Vikarabad district and millets grown in Medak, Adilabad and Mahabubnagar have also been shortlisted as agricultural products that could be promoted in national and foreign markets in the future. District-centric food processing industries will be set up, based on the availability of raw farm products. In a month or two, the Chief Minister will finalise the action plan and ensure its implementation from FY 2019-20.

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