Agartala: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Monday flagged off the 17-tonne consignment of exotic and juicy pineapple to Dubai. Besides pineapple, Tripura is also exporting lemons to Dubai.
Tripura exported 1.5 tonnes of the Queen variety of pineapple to Dubai last year as part of the initiative to popularise the tropical fruit globally.
"With the increase in pineapple production from the 1.26 lakh tonnes to 3 lakh tonnes by 2021, the fruit will be exported to more countries and all the states in India," Deb said.
The Chief Minister said the consignment would reach Dubai in 9-10 days. "After Tripura gets linked through the proposed waterway with Bangladesh, the time and cost of exporting pineapple, lemon and other items would be further reduced," he said.
The production of the Queen variety of pineapples has increased 25 per cent. The Chief Minister said all blocks had been asked to enlarge pineapple cultivation area. "In near future, the state would start earning more foreign exchange and extend more benefits to farmers," Deb said.
Pineapples are also exported to Bangladesh.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi's target to double farmers' income by 2022 would be achieved in Tripura through the export of pineapple," Deb said.
In Tripura, Agriculture and Transport Minister Pranajit Singh Roy said one pineapple fetched Rs 5-10, but for export purposes it was being procured at Rs 15 per piece.
Stating that one pineapple fetches Rs 20 in Dubai against Rs 5-10 in Tripura, Tripura Chief Secretary Usurupati Venkateswarlu said the juicy and sweet pineapples would make Tripura "familiar" to the rest of the world.
"It takes 15 days for pineapple consignment from the Philippine to reach Dubai. But from Tripura it takes only 9-10 days," he said.
A Horticulture Department official said many countries, including Israel and Bahrain, had expressed willingness to import pineapple from Tripura.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) last year started procuring rice at a minimum support price, he said and added, "The FCI through the state food and agriculture departments has procured 14,000 tonnes of rice this year, which would rise to 100,000 tonnes in three years."