Baba Ramdev's company turns its attention towards Nagpur's oranges

Feb 21, 2016, 09:40 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's firm Patanjali Yogpeeth to invest in orange processing in Maharashtra's California; Nitin Gadkari keen to make Nagpur orange a global brand

Remember the TV commercial that says, ‘Aam ka season kabhi khatam nahin hota’? Yoga exponent and now medicinal therapy entrepreneur, Baba Ramdev (pictured below), through his Patanjali Yogpeeth, promises he is set to do the same for the famous Nagpur oranges. This he plans to achieve by setting up juice factories in two districts of the state, known as Maharashtra’s California for the vast land under orange cultivation.

Baba Ramdev
Baba Ramdev

Patanjali Yogpeeth entered into an agreement with the state government on Friday in Nagpur, two days after investors promised Rs 8 lakh crore at the Make in India week. The initiative was taken by union surface transport minister and local MP Nitin Gadkari, who has been pursuing Ramdev to expand his business into Vidarbha.

Two companies, Hindustan Coca-Cola and Jain Irrigation signed an agreement with the government for orange processing in Warud of Amravati district during Make in India. However, it could not be confirmed whether Patanjali deliberately stayed away from the Mumbai event or was not invited to ink the deal at the week.

Apart from orange processing, Ramdev’s company will also set up a medicinal herbs processing unit in the Naxal hotbed of Gadchiroli. The dense forests and neighbouring Chandrapur district, he plans to use to grow close to 200 medical herbs with help from the local tribal population which has been struggling for means of employment.

An announcement to this effect was made by Gadkari in Nagpur on Friday. He said Patanjali will acquire land in Nagpur’s Mihan project (347 acres) and industrial estates in Amravati (area not specified), Katol (200 acres) and Gadchiroli (not specified). The paper work for these allotments is expected to be completed in six months, he said, adding that Nagpur’s unit alone will generate 10,000 jobs.

Acharya Balkrishna of Patanjali said his company will invest in Vidarbha to help distressed farmers. Sources close to the company said the firm's estimated investment for all projects may be to the tune of Rs 600 crore.

According to information available, more than 1.50 lakh hectares of land in Nagpur and Amravati district is under orange cultivation but there is a dearth of agro processing units. BJP’s Katol legislator Ashish Deshmukh told mid-day on Saturday that the farmers were excited about the announcement. "The units will not only benefit orange farmers, but also encourage them to change crop patterns for growing other produce that Patanjali uses in various products,” he said.

Deshmukh said efforts were being made to revive the indigenous brand NOGA (Nagpur Orange Growers Association) with help from the state government. He said the NOGA factory was in liquidation and mired in a litigation which the state government says it expects to end soon.

Currently, Israeli agriculture expert, Gabi Nahum, the Institute of Management Technology (IMT) and Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) are working on a project report to promote the Nagpur orange as a global brand.

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