Sunday, May 10, 2009

Shahi litchi to hit market soon

Patna, May 8, Shahi litchi, a popular summer fruit largely grown in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, is set to hit markets across India in the third week of May.

“Juicy Shahi litchi will be available in the market after May 20,” said an official of the National Research Centre for Litchi at Muzaffarpur, about 70 km from here.

Added Bhola Nath Jha, a litchi farmer in Muzaffarpur: “After 10 days, the litchi will be ready. Litchi has already turned pink, a positive sign.”

About 70 percent of all litchis produced in India are grown in Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts. The number of farmers in the state growing litchis has increased in the last decade, especially in Muzaffarpur and neighbouring areas along the river Gandak.

In a report last year, the World Bank noted that litchis good enough for export were being grown in only about 10 percent of the 2,000-odd orchards in Muzaffarpur.

Countries that import litchis from India include the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Canada, Russia and Yemen.