Because of the nationwide lockdown, India’s sales of dates and all other dry fruits have been affected adversely in the Northeast. Usually, an estimated 600 tonnes dates are sold during the festival of Ramadan in the region, selling from Rs 100 to Rs 250 per kilogram (€1.20-3.00) in wholesale.
“Due to the prevailing situation, the supply of dates and all other dry fruits has reduced to half in comparison with the last year. It reaches in the region from Mumbai and Gujarat. A lack of transportation resources and labourers have caused the downfall of the business up to 60 per cent. Generally, it is bought in wholesale two months before and are kept in cold store but this year it could not be done,” Mewa Lal, a dry fruits wholesaler, said.
Dates do not come under essential fruits list, so special permission is required for its transportation from the administration. But even after getting permission, labourers were not available to load or unload them.
It’s not just wholesalers like Lal who are unable to purchase fruits because of the lockdown, the retailers too are facing problems to bring in the fruits up to their selling counters. As a result, whatever is available is fly off the counters even at high rates this Ramadan.
India imports date palms from Iraq , Iran, UAE , Algeria, Malaysia and Israel.