Vijay Vashisht

With Diwali round the corner, dry fruits will be much in demand.

Over years we at Safexpress, have transported tonnes and tonnes of dry fruits all over India.

One that is certainly an interesting one to talk about, is fox nut (makhana). A dry fruit which was not so popular say, five years back, is suddenly in high demand, all thanks to its growing popularity as  a super food.

Great for bone health, gut, heart, skin and hair, blood sugar control and several other things, the demand  for Fox nuts is on an all time high not just in India but also internationally with major exports to Europe, USA, China, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand.

The global makhana market size was estimated at USD 40 million by the end of 2020. Asia Pacific has been the market leader in makhana with a huge pie of 85.2 per cent in 2019 and India has been a crucial player.

In India, Bihar accounts for more than 85 percent of the makhana produced in the country. Madhubani, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Saharsa, Katihar, Purnia, Supaul, Kishanganj and Araria in Bihar are climatically suitable for makhana cultivation.

 According to agriexchange.apeda.gov.in, the estimated value of the production of foxnuts at the farmers’ end is Rs 250 crore and it generates revenue of Rs 550 crore at the traders’ level.

 What also makes the Makhana story heartwarming is that every time our vehicles move them, we know some home in some remote village must have generated some income for themselves in their growing or sorting or processing.

Planted in about 1.5 feet deep water, picking makhanas in India is a labour-intensive process where every piece is picked by hand. What is also very labour intensive is their processing. Ravi Atal, Shridhar Patil, Subodh Kumar, Suman Lata and Sonam Roy in a study titled, ‘Processing of Makhana and Value Chain Financing in Bihar’, published in November 2020 in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, say as much.

According to their study, almost 100 per cent makhana is a “labour intensive activity without any kind of processing mechanisation.”

So washing the seeds, drying them, popping them is still done traditionally. All of this is pretty time consuming. There have been efforts to mechanise  the process but most have been unsuccessful.

Also unlike in other products where business men go directly to source what they want, they don’t always prefer to come to Bihar. This means a company from say Delhi or Mumbai will source it and then further repackage and sell it. We are a part of this entire chain, transporting from a village to a big city and then within the city.

What makes foxnuts a somewhat challenging commodity to transfer is the fact that even though they are light, they are volumetric. Also, better the quality of makhanas, the fluffier they will be, thereby occupying more space. This makes it a little more challenging to transport them. And because they need to be kept safe from getting wet (which will spoil them), they are packed in special bags.

These little problems make the overall process of transporting and storing Foxnuts a bit tricky and complicated.But we at Safexpress keep these little but extremely crucial nuances in mind. So we make sure we transport these special bags with care and safety.

The fact that the fox nuts could traverse long distances with different geographical conditions  in the place of packaging and delivery, we make sure they are transported with extra safety. Any extra pressure and the perfect white round nuts could break. Which is why Safexpress takes great pride in meeting each of the transport demands of each of our products and foxnuts are no exception.

Because we at Safexpress thrive on challenges and never let our partners down!

*Associate Vice President, Business Development Management, Safexpress Pvt. Ltd