Grape and pomegranate, which are popular horticulture crops of the district, are expected to get a boost with the University of Agriculture Sciences — Dharwad (UAS) setting up an Agriculture Business Export Knowledge Centre at the Agriculture Research Station here.
The centre which was functioning in the UAS, Dharwad, since 2007, will have its operation expanded to the district with an objective to improve the quality of the horticulture produces to international standards in order to increase the export.
N.R. Mamledesai, head of the centre here, toldThe Hindu that the objective is to spread awareness among the farmers to produce quality agricultural products.
“The grape and pomegranate of the district has enormous potential in gaining international reputation. But owing to lack of knowledge the farmers are unable to enhance its quality to meet the exports stands,” Dr. Mamledesai said.
The centre primarily does the job of training and educating the farmers on improving the quality of the crop.
He said that it is crucial to meet the exports standard based on the parameters set up Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), a statutory body that sets parameters for exporting the agriculture products.
“Those farmers who wish to export products should not only meet the parameters but also obtain approval from APEDA either under Good Agriculture Practice system or under organic farming system. The parameters are set based on the quality, size, colour and permissible level of chemical residue in the fruit,” he said.
Dr. Mamledesai said that centre also encourages the formation of farmers produces company which helps in the collection of produces by a single agency for exporting at is difficult for every individual farmer to export the produces.
The formation of the company provides farmers the bargaining power for the produces which multiplies the revenue.
Sharing the experience of Dharwad, Dr. Mamledesai said that with the help of the centre, the prices of mango in the retail market went from Rs. 20/kg to Rs. 110 kg. In Bagalkot district, pomegranate cost increased by Rs. 60, he said.
“I am confident that in Vijayapura also we will give fillip to grape and pomegranate for making farmers earn a higher profit,” he said and added that changes would be visible in next two to three years after the centre begins its operation shortly.

The Hindu