Maha Orange, a farmers’ cooperative federal society from Nagpur, created history by exporting the first ever consignment of 26 tons of oranges to Sri Lanka from Karanja Ghadge, about 75 km Nagpur. This is the first time that orange farmers from Vidarbha have actually sent orange to another country.
Till now, oranges used to be sent to Bangladesh but that was an illegal trade as the fruits were first transported by truck to Kolkata and from there were sent illegally across the border. Speaking to TOI, MahaOrange managing director Shridhar Thakre said that it was one of the proudest moments of his life both as an orange grower as well as an Indian. “The container will reach Mumbai in about three days from where it will be shipped to Sri Lanka in about 10 days or so. We are sure that the fruits will be liked there as we have made every effort to ensure that we send the quality that is liked by the people there,” he said.
Manoj Jawanjal, a MahaOrange director, could not hide his excitement. “We were preparing for this moment from past one month. Though we would we relieved only after the consignment reaches Sri Lanka and is appreciated there, but still it is an achievement for all of us,” he said.
The consignment basically carried oranges from the orchards of three farmers, Prashant Mahalle and Ashish Dhote from Katol and Panjabrao Dandare from Digras. The MahaOrange team managed to set the ball rolling after a lot of study. They actually found out that Sri Lankans generally like Kino orange from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh due to its small size, colour and juice.
So MahaOrange too has sent fruits with these qualities. Union minister Nitin Gadkari has assured to promote Nagpuri orange at railway stations and airports. On Sunday, while releasing a box from the consignment formally from Nagpur, Gadkari said that he would try to work towards exporting orange to Dubai and Qatar.
Katol MLA Ashish Deshmukh flagged off the container off to Mumbai. Those present on the occasion included former MLA from Arvi Dadarao Keche, MD of Purti Sugar Sudhir Diwe, English county cricketer Andy McGarry, who teaches at the Raj Singh Dungarpur Cricket Academy at Talegaon, and the MahaOrange team led by Shridhar Thakre, Ashok Thote, Manoj Jawanjal and Prashant Kukde. Over 350 farmers from all over the region were also present to witness the historic moment. (TOI)