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Floods and COVID form a double blow to Bangladesh fruit and vegetable exports

The ongoing flood and Covid-19 pandemic have caused a double blow Bangladesh’ exports of fruits, vegetables and other perishables. Shipments have been negatively affected by the high air cargo freight charges during the pandemic, now being followed by the flood severely affecting the shipments.

Arif Azad Prince, managing director of Masawa Agro Ltd explains that more than 90 per cent of the exports to the EU countries, specially to UK, are shipped by air. The freight charges increased to US$3.8 to $4.5 per kg during the pandemic as compared to at best $1.8 a kg before the pandemic.

Besides, the prices of vegetables like brinjal, eddo, pointed gourd, teasel gourd, bitter gourd and pumpkin trebled in last one and half months in the domestic market.

"We are becoming less competitive in the EU region due to the higher air freight charges and pricier local produces," he said, adding that it takes an exporter to spend Tk 500-520 to send per kg of brinjal to the EU while the Indian businesses can deliver it at 40 per cent less price than us.

Mr. Prince, however, said the freight charges of ocean-going vessels are almost static at $ 550 per container for countries like Malaysia. reports him saying that exports to non-European countries might remain normal this year amid rising demand for potato and cabbage. According to him, the air freight charges have increased due to the substantially reduced number of flights amid the pandemic.

[ Tk 100 = €0.99 ]

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