The export of baby corn from India is going well. The product is available year round, but May and June can be tricky months in terms of water shortages. Luckily there were good rains last season, meaning sufficient water has been stored. The coronavirus could impact the season, as air freight prices have risen significantly.
According to Kaushal Khakhar, CEO of Kay bee Exports, the baby corn season is in a good spot this year, even with the tricky months coming up. “In India, baby corn is readily available and in large quantities for all 365 days of the year. Also, thanks to favourable climatic conditions this year, the season has been strong, with high quantities ordered and yearly supply programs with our customers. The months of May and early June are the tricky months, with water shortage playing a role. However, with good rains in the previous season, there is a sufficient supply of stored water this year.”
Kaushal states that about 90 to 95% of the baby corn that is exported from India goes to the United Kingdom: “Baby corn is one of the flagship vegetables of Kay Bee Exports in which we have gained a strong expertise since our company’s inception more than 30 years ago. On an average, we export a monthly volume of around 200 tons of baby corn to various countries around the globe. The United Kingdom would definitely stand out as they buy around 90% to 95% of the baby corn exported from India. This is a bit unusual as we see all EU countries having similar consumption patterns but it seems baby corn is quite popular in UK and not so much in other countries in Europe.”
Although the season is looking good so far, there are still factors that could affect the season, Kaushal explains. “As of today, and despite the Covid 19 resurgence over the past one month in India, the season has been very encouraging with higher volumes exported until date and yearly programs planned with our customers for the months to come ensuring us that these high volumes will remain steady. The two main parameters that could affect our season because of the 2nd wave of coronavirus that’s hitting India at the moment would be the supply and the air freight.”
Luckily for Kay bee Exports, the agricultural sector should be one of the least affected industries, as it’s been exempt from the lockdown restrictions: “Agriculture has been classified as an essential service in India and the government has been very active and supportive in ensuring that there is no disruption of movement of agricultural products. Even during very strict lockdowns, we have had smooth movement of our vehicles. In regards to the air freight, though air-freight capacities are sharply reduced, we do not foresee any disturbances in terms of flight availability. Airlines are operating cargo flights or passenger flights (but without any passengers). So, despite passenger movement restrictions, cargo movement is happening uninterrupted.”
“There is reduced consumption in the summer months in UK for baby corn. While baby corn prices in India have remained largely stable, the air-freight component of the business has more than doubled in price due to the pandemic.” Kaushal concludes.