The United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) has approved an irradiation facility — Gujarat Agro Radiation Processing Facility (GARPF) set up by Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation Ltd (GAIC) near Ahmedabad.
This will enable radiation for horticulture crops and encourage exports.
USDA-APHIS team, facilitated by the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) conducted an audit of GARPF, post which the USDA-APHIS granted its approval to the plant at Bavla in Ahmedabad on July 2, 2022. The total area of the facility is 6,750 sq m with a capacity to irradiate Mangoes at 6 MT/Hr.
The unit became the first plant in Gujarat to get USDA-APHIS approval for the export of mangoes and pomegranates.
As per the norms, irradiation of mangoes is mandatory before exporting them to the US. The irradiation process is conducted under the supervision of quarantine inspectors from the US. “Mangoes will be exported directly from Gujarat after this approval,” a statement said.
GAIC had set up a 1,000-kilocurie (kCi) multipurpose split type, palletised radiation processing facility for agricultural and processed food products at Bavla under Rashtriya Krushi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) at an approximate cost of ₹20 crore in 2014.
The facility — implemented under the guidance and technical support of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), and the Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT) — is the only facility in India that can irradiate products like onion, potato, cereals, pulses, Psyllium husk, pet food, meat, spices, dehydrated onions/dry vegetables, meat products including poultry, eggs, and medical products at a low, medium and high dose as per the requirement.
DK Parekh, Managing Director, GAIC stated that the government of India has declared Kutch as a mango cluster under the Cluster Development Scheme. This facility will go a long way to support the exports of mangoes from Gujarat.
In 2019-20, Maharashtra exported approximately 980 tonnes of irradiated mangoes to the US which as per estimates 50 -60 per cent of mangoes were from Gujarat because of the non-availability of USDA-APHIS approved irradiation plant in the State.
Encouraging easy transport of fruits
The latest facility, located closer to the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) will encourage easy transport of fruits to the hinterland and for exports directly from Gujarat.
Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation Ltd is the owner of three key Infrastructure facilities (required for export of Mangoes) like Integrated Pack House, Gamma Irradiation Facility, and Perishable Air Cargo Complex in one district.
After USDA-APHIS approval of the facility, the irradiation facility can leverage the existing infrastructure of the State and achieve a synergy between the quality of mangoes, reduction in wastages and cost of transportation.
July 21, 2022