The first consignment of GI-tagged Shahi Litchi of the current season was exported to the UK from Bihar with the ample support of Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) and the State agricultural department, an official statement said.
The fruit, sourced from farmers from Muzaffarpur in Bihar, by a local firm, Cira Enterprises after obtaining phytosanitary certification from a newly-established certification facility in Patna, the statement said. The consignment, which left for the UK by air on Monday, was imported by H&J Veg, London.
Apeda collaborated with Department of Agriculture, Bihar, along with other stakeholders for facilitating Shahi Litchi exports. Senior officials including Apeda chairman M Angamuthu, Bihar’s Principal Secretary-Agriculture N Saravana Kumar and others participated in the event to mark the occasion.
Because of short-shelf life of litchi, there is a need to explore export opportunities for the processed and value-added products.
Shahi litchi was the fourth agricultural product to get GI certification from Bihar in 2018, after Jardalu mango, Katarni rice and Magahi paan. GI registration for Shahi Litchi is held with the Muzaffarpur-based Litchi Growers Association of Bihar. Muzzafarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran, Begusarai districts and adjoining areas of Bihar have favourable climate for growing the fruit.
India is the second largest producer of litchi (Litchi chin) in the world after China. The translucent, flavoured aril or edible flesh of the litchi is popular as a table fruit in India, while in China and Japan it is preferred in dried or canned form. Bihar accounts nearly 40 per cent of India’s litchi production.
Other major litchi-producing countries are Thailand, Australia, South Africa, Madagascar and the United States.