Food processing Horticulture dept looks to upgrade packhouse facility at Barasat to

first_imgKolkata: The state Food Processing & Horticulture (FP&H) department is taking measures to revamp its packhouse facility at Nilganj in Barasat, after exports of fresh vegetables to the European Union (EU) have suffered, with the packhouse that was set up more than 10 years ago, lying in neglect for more than 10 months.”We are going for open tender to select a company that will revamp the packhouse. The tender will be opened shortly,” said Abdur Rezzak Mollah, minister of FP&H. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAccording to sources in the FP&H department, EU has always been very stringent regarding quality when it comes to exports. “Our own packhouse facility in Barasat was looked after by an association of exporters, who shifted to a private packhouse for monopoly business, leaving our facility in a neglected condition. The common exporters have not been allowed to have access to the private packhouse citing paucity of space and thus are being deprived. There is an urgent need for imme-diate revival of our packhouse,” an official of the department said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedRepresentatives from the West Bengal Agri Horticulture Exporters Welfare Association have held several meetings with the department and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) to address the problem they are facing. “There has been a loss of nearly Rs 50 crore of our association in the last ten months, due to the present situation,” said Bijay Chakraborty, the treasurer of the Association, adding that a section of exporters have already started moving to Assam for exporting to EU. Most importantly, the export of betel leaf (paan) to London has been badly hit. “There are around 5 lakh Bengalis in London and after export of betel leaf was banned by the Bangladesh government three years ago, we have been catering to the demand. However, for the last few months, Salmonella bacteria have been found in abundance on betel leaves and the Union government has denied issuing a quarantine certificate, leading to stalling of export. There is a reasonable demand as the Bengalis in London are not fond of the betel leaves of Sri Lanka and Malaysia,” Chakraborty added. To rub salt on the wound of the exporters, EU has recently come up with more stringent export norms. “They have instructed us to develop backward linkage and good agriculture practice among other things for export. We have taken up the matter with APEDA,” an exporter working closely with the FP&H department said.last_img