Sherpa Hossainy's Blog

Veg export upswing may not last long

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Export and Import by Sherpa Hossainy on October 9, 2011

Published in The Independent on 8 October 2011

Read the article on Independent website

Digital print version

A visibly healthy upswing in exports could well become short-lived, if the government does not step in to provide apt logistics support, warned vegetable and fruit exporters.

The exporters expressed fears that the lack of central warehousing facility, non-availability of air cargo services from state-run Biman Bangladesh Airlines, and unprecedented rise in prices in domestic market, will make a dent in rising vegetable and fruit exports, soon.

As the European Union (EU) continues to impose strict quality regulations on vegetable exports, absence of a central warehouse, which is necessary to maintain international packaging standards and quality of vegetables, could result in lower demands from the international market, they said.

“We solely depend on air cargo services for exporting perishable items. It’s impossible to maintain the freshness of fruits and vegetables, if there is no central warehouse close to the airport,” said Mohammad Monsur, general secretary of Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables and Allied Products Exporters Association (BFVAPEA).

Although the exporters have their own warehouses, those are not enough to store vegetables for longer periods, he said, adding that there should be a central warehouse for all agricultural products in the country.

Vegetables and fruits

“We’ve been urging the government for almost seven years, yet no actions were taken,” he added.

The BFVAPEA secretary also demanded cash subsidies from the government, to offset spiralling vegetable prices in local market.

“Vegetable prices have been going up for the last three months. The government should provide cash subsidies to us, like it does to garment makers, to balance the price disadvantage.

“Buyers won’t wait for us. They are already shifting to India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, as they are getting better prices there,” Monsur said.

Md Mostafizur Rahman, another vegetable exporter, said that the recurrent problem of cargo space does not exist any more, but foreign carriers are charging ways to hike freight charges.

Rahman, proprietor of Sadman International, said, “If Biman starts cargo services, we’ll get to export vegetables cheaply and the exports will increase manifold.”

There is no alternative to starting cargo facilities to important international destinations by Biman, the national flag carrier, if vegetable exports have to sustain growth, said Monsur, also proprietor of Monsur General Trading Company.

Vegetable exports from Bangladesh marked a 20.92 per cent rise in the first two months of the current fiscal year, compared to the same period last year, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data showed.

Export earnings for July-August, 2011, stood at USD 15.43 million, against a target of USD 14.27 million, while export earnings were at USD 12.76 million, during the same period last year, EPB data showed.

Exports of vegetables, in fiscal year 2010-11, was USD 71.73 million. Export revenues rose remarkably from fruits, at USD 10.14 million in the first two months of the current fiscal year, marking a 112.58 per cent rise than the same period last year.

Soaring demand of betel leaf in Saudi Arabia and the UK, and rising consumer demand for mangoes, blackberries, bananas in the EU helped the course, exporters said. Exports of beans, red amaranths and gourds, also increased, they added.

However, Monsur sees the rise as “unsustainable”, saying that the adverse impact of existing bottlenecks, on vegetable and fruit exports, will be felt “probably within six months”.

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3 Responses

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  1. Odell Alshouse said, on October 21, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thank you

    • Sherpa Hossainy said, on October 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      Hi,

      Of course, you can share my blog with your myspace group. Thanks for your interest.

      Take care.

      Best,
      Sherpa

  2. Sherpa Hossainy said, on October 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Hi,

    My email address is: sherpa.hossainy[at]gmail.com. Would like to hear out your ideas.

    Take care.

    Best,
    Sherpa


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