Fruit and vegetable exports from the Indian state of Bengal to other countries have dropped around 90 per cent since March. According to exporters, this is caused by the coronavirus lockdown, resulting in reduced air cargo services, market closures and supply chain disruptions.
Ankush Saha, Joint Secretary of the West Bengal Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Exporters’ Welfare Association, stated: “The novel coronavirus has severely affected exports here. We can say that we could export roughly five per cent of the consignment.”
Saha said the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, an apex body of agriculture exporters under the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, has not paid attention to the slump. As flight operations gather pace, exporters said the situation has not improved much.
The bulk of vegetables and fruits are exported from the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport. They are exported to mostly Dubai, Qatar, Singapore, France, Italy and other European countries. On an average, 3,000 tonnes of vegetables and fruits are exported from Bengal in six months.
Gopal Saha, proprietor of the export company JBL Enterprise, said earlier his monthly exports have come down to 50 tonnes monthly from 120 tonnes before the lockdown in March.