The World Bank is providing funds to launch a global campaign to market Bihar’s Shahi (royal) litchi. This would benefit farmers in the eastern state, which is among the largest producers of the fruit in the country. While the demand for litchi increases all over India with the onset of summer, exports would also get a boost when the campaign is underway.
A source from Bihar’s Agriculture Technology Management Agency said, “Shahi litchi, which is cultivated in the northern parts of the state (particularly in the districts of Muzaffarpur and Samastipur), has not been yielding the desired results owing to insufficient funds and poor marketing efforts.”
“Now we receive funds from the World Bank, and that is the reason we are involved in the implementation and management of agricultural innovation in the state,” he added, informing that the litchi production in the state is about two lakh metric tonne (MT), and this accounts for approximately 75 per cent of the fruit’s national yield.
“From the point of view of both the national and the international market, litchi is one of the most sought-after agricultural products of Bihar. It offers a host of processing opportunities. However, it is poorly marketed, so neither the state nor its farmers are able to get sufficient returns,” the official informed.
“Now with an aggressive marketing campaign in place, Bihar’s litchi would become available at key airports and railway stations, as well as at exclusive stores in the international market. In order to raise the production of the fruit in the states, efforts would be taken to implement scientific techniques,” he added.
“Ultra-modern storage facilities would be set up to allow adequate time for shipping and marketing the fruit,” he said. The Agriculture Technology Management Agency also informed that a brewery had evinced interest in producing wine from Bihar’s Shahi litchi in the days to come, and added that this would be exported.