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India increases vegetable exports 60%

Staff Writer |
The Indian government has set the vegetable export target at US$ 37 million for the first six months (July to December) of the current fiscal year.

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The country earned $59 million in the six months of the current year - 2018-19. Vegetable export earnings increased 60.04 percent from the target. The export target is $77 million for the current fiscal year.

India's vegetable export earnings was 77.98 million in 2017-18, followed by $ 76.90 million in 2017-18 according to the latest data of Export Promotin Beruea (EBP).

Lack of cold chain facility, limited number of warehouses and frequent changes in air cargo fares are hindering the growers. Maintaining proper temperature is a must for exporting vegetables to developed countries such as Canada, Sweden and the UK.

Bangladesh has rolled out a self-imposed ban on vegetable exports to the EU until quality improves which is one of the major reasons for the lower export performance in the recent years, industry insiders said.

The government is now encouraging growers to follow GlobalGAP standards, and will allow only ‘contract farmers’ to eventually export to Europe.

“We want to export quality products. Nobody wants to see the entire market closed for a handful of people who are forging documents or their low quality products,” said a Commerce Ministry official.

The EU, especially the UK and Italy, are major destinations for Bangladeshi vegetables because of a sizeable population of non-resident Bangladeshis. In addition the Middle East has become country’s main export destination.

Bangladesh exports carrot, tomato, potato, eggplant, spinach, cauliflower, papaya, pumpkin, bottle gourd, cabbage, coriander leaf, ladies finger, cucumber, bitter gourd, bean, jute leaf, drumstick, radish, dry fish, fish and meat.

The Plant Protection Wing though is allowing shipments of vegetables, fruits and other agricultural produce that comply with the strict rules of the EU, said Md Anwar Hossain Khan, its deputy director of export.

Any kind of failure in following the EU compliance means a return of consignments.

“Sometimes, it is difficult to follow high levels of compliance when the exporters collect the vegetables from the local open markets and send those straight to the EU.”

Previously, 60 percent of the fruit and vegetable consignments were sent to the EU, but now the share has come down to less than 40 percent, said Mohammad Mansur, general secretary of Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables & Allied Products Exporters’ Association.

Now, 60 percent of the shipments go to the Middle East, Mansur said. Besides, airlines have increased their fare for carrying fruits and vegetables to any European country because of the need for re-screening the cargo in a third country.

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