Indian state eyes Arabian Gulf for potato exports

DUBAI Spurred by a record potato production this year, India's biggest and most populous state is working towards expanding its exports profile by tapping the Arabian Gulf markets through Dubai. The potential for the exports of mangoes, rice, vegetables and flowers is also being explored.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 20 Feb 2003, 3:17 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 8:24 PM

A five-member delegation from Uttar Pradesh led by its Horticulture Minister, Raj Kishor Singh, is currently on a four-day visit to hold talks with the exporters in the emirate. The delegation is comprised of Akhand Pratap Singh, Agriculture Production Commissioner, Jivesh Nandan, Secretary for Horticulture and Managing Director of Uttar Pradesh Horticulture Marketing Federation, Arun Singhal, Director of Uttar Pradesh Mandi Parished and Mahendra Swaroop, President of Uttar Pradesh Cold Storage Association.

Uttar Pradesh accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the total 28 million tonnes of potato that India produces annually.

He said :"During the year 2002-2003, we expect a record potato production of 10.2 million tonnes in our state. We have storage capacity for 6.2 million tonnes. We have to find markets for our high-yeilding potato varieties as our storage facilities are not compatible with the growing production. The storage capacity during the current year is enough for five million tonnes."

He said the productivity of potato in India stands at 19 tonnes per hectare, higher than the world average of 16.5 tonnes per hectare. The pride of Indian potato industry are the four Agri Export Zones (AEZ) that have been set up by the federal government in the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. India produces around 15 varieties of potatoes.

Akhand Pratap Singh said potato from Uttar Pradesh were being exported to Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Nepal among other countries. " From next year onwards, Dubai will see our high-yeilding varieties of potatoes in a big way. The quality and quantity of our potatoes is now very high," he added. Potatoes having a size of 50 mm and 100 grams of weight, much preferred by the exporters, are abundantly produced in the state. The delegation said the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has been working hard to enhance the share of Indian exports in the Arabian Gulf states. The Indian Potato Congress, scheduled to be held in Delhi next month, is expected to give a big boost to exports with exporters from across the world coming to the Indian capital.

The minister said mango was another produce which has a good export potential in the Arabian Gulf market. "We have improved our packaging and processing - the two weaknesses that were hampering our global competitiveness," he added.

India produces 12 million tonnes of mangoes every year and the most popular varieties of mango produced in Uttar Pradesh are Dussehri, Chausa and Langra. According to him, these varieties are much in demand in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany and the UK. India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world and accounts for over 54 per cent of the world production of 17 million tonnes.

The minister said a variety of flowers were also being exported from Uttar Pradesh for the past five years through the the Indian Airlines' Luckhnow-Sharjah flight. " We are looking at every market that is promising for the products our farmers are growing. We will explore the markets for other produce once we establish ourselves in the select few," said the minister who represents the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

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