United Breweries Group to setup litchi processing unit at Patepur in Vaishali district

The litchi growers of Muzaffarpur and Vaishali are having a good time following reports that Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries (UB) is out to manufacture wine from litchi grown in these two districts of the state. “I was told that Mallyaji is the one, who will be using our litchis,” said Ramakant Shahi, who owns 70 litchi trees on a two-acre plot at Sandha village near Motipur in Muzaffarpur district. Shahi leased out 55 of the 70 trees through an agreement. “Some are over 100 years old while most of them are 50 years old. I did not lease out the remaining 15 because I also need litchis for my family, relatives and friends,” he said, recalling that a local man and a man from Bangalore had come with the agreement. “Another four farmers of my village, too, did the same,” Shahi remarked, insisting that the period of lease was from September last to June this year, the actual season of litchi. The local contact is Rajiv Ojha, who claimed to be an employee of a company. “It’s not Mallyaji’s company, which has signed the agreement with the farmers but ours. We have already taken on lease litchi trees grown over 130 acres. We are looking for more litchi orchards to take them on lease,” Ojha said stressing that his company had an understanding with Mallya’s UB Group. “We pay them Rs 400-700 per tree depending on the state and productivity of the tree. The farmers benefit because the middleman’s commission in bypassed,” he said. Ojha said a litchi processing unit is going to be set up at Patepur in Vaishali district. He said the litchis will be sent to Bangalore this year. But, from next year, they will be locally processed at Patepur. “But even we do not know what the UB Group is going to do with the pulp of the litchis,” Ojha said. Around 70% litchis, produced in India, are grown in Muzaffarpur and its neighbouring districts. There are reports that the Muzaffarpur-based National Litchi Research Centre has been approached for the transfer of technology for making litchi-flavoured wine. Post a comment Email this article Print this article Save this article My saved articles Login Register@indiatimes Reduce font size Increase font size Cops rescue kidnapped schoolboy