It was only in June 2019 that Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on vegetables imported from Kerala. The ban was imposed as a preventive measure during the spread of the Nipah virus. Hardly had the exports resumed, when the rains drowned out availability of the plantain. So after the disturbing effects of the Nipah virus, now the turn has come for rains, floods and landslides to play spoilsport for Kerala’s banana and vegetable exports.
Bananas account for as much as 60-65% of the green exports from Kerala, the rest being comprised of vegetables. On a regular day, the state exports fruits and vegetables worth Rs 18 mln (€227,000) to the Gulf.
“Following the floods and the subsequent havoc to plantain and vegetable farms in north and central Kerala, the vegetable and fruit exports from three international airports in the state have taken a harsh beating. While at least 120 tons were exported each day this week, only 100 tons could be loaded,” said Abraham Thomas, president, Agricultural Products and Processed Food Exporters Association, as reported in the Financial Express.
The havoc created by the rains in the farming areas in Wayanad, Kannur, Kasargode and Idukky have also created shortages of vegetables in the Kerala market.