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Ludhiana

Posted at: Jun 13, 2018, 1:00 AM; last updated: Jun 13, 2018, 1:00 AM (IST)

Packaging can turn litchi into a wonder fruit, say PAU experts

Fruit can be stored for 1-2 weeks if proper method of packaging is adopted

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12

Experts believe that Litchi as a fruit has largely received little attention and farmers have failed to realize its potential. With proper harvesting, grading, packaging, storage and marketing techniques, litchi can turn into a wonder fruit for farming community.

“In India fruits are sold in clusters or bunches. Usually, it is transported in baskets or wooden boxes without any post harvest treatments. The fruit is sold through a post harvest contractor to the wholesale or commission agent, who undertakes the harvesting and packing, in addition to transporting the produce to the market,” said Dr BVC Mahajan, director of Punjab Horticultural Postharvest Technology Center.

Commercially grown in Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur over an area of about 2,708 hectares with the production of 43,958 Metric Tonnes, litchi’s packaging remains a major challenge as it is easily perishable.

He said, “More than 80 per cent of the growers prefer sale through post harvest contractor in the region. The potential of litchi has not be realised so far.”

Dr Mahajan said, “High price disparities exist between the returns that a producer gets and a consumer pays. The pre-harvest contractors or the commission agents earn maximum margin in litchi marketing. Therefore, self marketing is the best option, for earning better profits.”

Nav Prem Singh, assistant professor in the Department of Fruit Science, PAU said, “Corrugated fiber board (CFB) boxes of 2, 4 and 10 kg designed by the Punjab Horticultural Postharvest Technology Center have been approved by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) for the commercial adoption in the state.”

“Fruits are commercially packed and marketed in jute sacks (Palli), which lowers the market value and shelf life. Fruits packed in CFB boxes retain visual appearance, keeping quality and marketability. The transportation losses can also be minimised by packing litchi fruits in CFB boxes,” he said.

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