Saturday, October 22, 2022

High air freight charges: Kerala fruit, vegetable exporters losing market

Kochi: Despite facing a deep economic crisis, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh have been posing a tough challenge to Kerala-based vegetable and fruit exporters in the GCC and European markets. According to exporters in Kerala, there has been a 40-50% decline in exports compared to the pre-Covid times. Reason: the steep hike in air freight charges and the 18% GST imposed by the Union government.   

Vegetables and fruits from South India are primarily exported to GCC and European countries and the customers are mostly Indians. Countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are dumping their products in these countries while Indian exporters are not able to compete due to competitive pricing. According to industry sources, the daily export of fruits from Kerala which stood at 275 tonnes, has declined to 175 tonnes due to low demand.

“The air freight charge which was in the range of Rs 35 to Rs 50 per kg during the pre-Covid times, has doubled to Rs 75 to Rs 100. Meanwhile, the Union government has imposed 18% GST on air freight. This has forced us to hike prices of our products in the export market. The same products are dumped in the global market at cheaper rates by Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This has led to a decline in demand for our agri products. An exporter who used to export 35 tonnes of vegetables a day have been forced to bring down the export volume to 15 tonnes,” said All Kerala Exporters Association secretary M Abdurahiman. “China is dumping garlic and ginger in the market at cheap rates.

22/10/22 Manoj Viswanathan/New Indian Express

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