Pune, Mar 24 : A five-day 'MahaOrange' festival is underway here to promote varieties of oranges available in the region and to provide a platform for the orange growers.
The festival is being organised by the Maharashtra State Agri-produce Marketing Board (MSAMB), an apex body of the state.
At least 40 societies of orange growers from the Vidarbha, an orange growing region in Maharashtra will set up stalls at the festival to display and market their produce.
Harsh Vardhan Patil, State Minister for Agriculture produce marketing, who inaugurated the festival on Sunday, said, "We have started direct marketing of oranges from here. This festival will help common man to know more about the citrus fruit."
The event is being organised for the first time in Pune to provide a platform for the orange growers to directly sell their produce to buyers.
The fruit producers so far have been selling their produce through middlemen who take away a share of the profits.
"With this initiative taken by MSAMB, the needs of hundreds of orange growers will be fulfilled," said Shridhar Thakre, a participant.
The primary societies would help the citrus fruit producers to market their produce profitably as also highlight their problems.
Authorities hope that this would help to increase production of oranges.
Maharashtra is the country's largest producer and exporter of oranges. The area under orange cultivation in the state is about 121 thousand hectares and total production exceeds seven hundred thousand tonnes annually.
Sixty five per cent of oranges in the State are produced in the Vidarbha region.