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Andhra Pradesh eyes export market for fruits as country's leading producer

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare's newest report, AP produced 18 million tonnes of fruits in 2021-22, putting it in top place.

Chintu Das

Andhra Pradesh intends to create a dent in the international market by cementing its position as the leading State with the highest volume of fruits, after transforming the Krishna-Godavari delta area into India's rice bowl and becoming a role model in seafood and aquaculture exports.

A bountiful harvest of fruits has resulted from a shift in policy and increased awareness among farmers about the need of growing climate resilient horticultural products. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare's most recent data, AP produced 18 million tonnes of fruits in 2021-22, putting it in top place. A total of 7.5 lakh hectares have been set aside for horticulture cultivation by the state.

All other goods, with the exception of mangoes, the king of fruits, and bananas, are not exported. On Monday, Anil Narayanan, Deputy COO of Visakha Container Terminal Pvt Ltd (VCTPL), told Bizz Buzz, "There is a bright chance to explore possibilities to export fruits cultivated in AP."

In 2020, AP produced 17 million tonnes of fruits, the most of any state, followed by Maharashtra with 11 million tonnes. Changes in planting patterns and increased understanding of climatic conditions boosted fruit output in the undivided Visakhapatnam district's interior parts like Chintapalli and Lambasingi. For the past few years, locally grown oranges, apples, and strawberries have been available in North Andhra markets.

Horticulture crops are grown in AP over an area of 18 lakh hectares, according to preliminary projections from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare for 2021-22. Papaya, orange, and batavia are the principal crops farmed by farmers across the State, in addition to bananas and mangoes, particularly of the Banganapalle kind. Along with fruits, the Departments of Agriculture and Horticulture are working hard to promote vegetables, spices, coffee, and a few cash crops. Cropping in this manner requires less water and yields higher returns for a lower investment. The state's economy has grown by 12% year over year.

Green apples from the US and New Zealand, as well as berries and oranges from Australia, Fiji, Chile, and other countries, are currently being imported for sale at large department stores.

"Once we enhance the quality of local output and respond to the demands of home customers, the chances of exports will improve," a Horticulture Department official said.

Farmers' organisations believe that incentives should be provided to encourage value-added investments such as cold storage, transportation, and food processing.

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