The mangoes in India are currently being harvested, but with the lockdown going on this season will no doubt be challenging. Although some produce could be offloaded to the domestic market, companies will have to deal with big financial losses. Should the lockdown be extended, the situation will be significantly worse and it might even be hard to recover at all.
For Indian mango exporter MK Exports, the challenges that came with the covid-19 outbreak have become visible fast. According to Manoj Barai, general manager of MK Exports, there are already cases where payments are not being made: “The coronavirus is having a drastic effect through the lockdown, as our businesses have been completely shut down. Offices are closed and we’re experiencing difficulties in getting payments from overseas market. So the financial challenges are also starting to present themselves, for sure.”
Although the country is in lockdown, MK Exports is still able to get the harvesting of the mango done, although extra measures have been taken to try and keep the employees safe. “With the help of our farmers’ effort, we are still able to work in farms. As a safety measure the harvesting is done in limited manner and only while wearing a mask, gloves and the use of sanitizer. These basic protection items are provided to farmers, any workers if found any symptom of coronavirus disease then he will be not allowed to come to farm and are advised to stay home and any medical assistance needed we shall provide to them.” Barai stated.
While a lot of companies in India are facing a tough time getting drivers to transport any kind of goods locally, MK Exports have their own vehicles and drivers: “For us, the local logistics are not a large issue, as we have our own vehicles and the government is kind enough to allow the essential cargo commodities to go through amid the lockdown. When talking about international logistics, the freight rates are very high. We’re talking three to four times higher than the average freight costs used to be. Generating demand from international buyers is difficult in the current scenario, where things are already challenging enough for exporters.”
Most Indian companies are hoping to be able to get back to business by April 14, as an extension would be devastating to their businesses. Barai feels it could take a very long time to recover from the situation: “If the lockdown is extended then the businesses will be heavily impacted, will have to deal with large financial losses and it might become very difficult to continue business further, or it might take a long time to recover from the losses. For our mangoes, maybe we’ll be able to sell them in the local Indian market if the lockdown continues. But the volumes we’ll be able to offload will be significantly lower due to the lockdown going on. Local vendors as well as other suppliers are facing their own challenges. We’ll try to find some solutions to overcome these challenges so that we can maintain the continuity.” He concludes.