In a step towards boosting exports potential of perishable agricultural commodities especially fruits and vegetables from north-eastern region (NER), a consignment of pineapple sourced from Tripura has been sent to Dubai. Mainly because of collaboration between the commerce ministry’s wing Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the private air carrier Spicejet, which offered a ‘reasonable’ freight rate to carry the consignment (1.2 tonne) of fruit from Guwahati to Delhi from where it was transported to Dubai. D K Singh, chairman, APEDA said that initial response from the consumers in Dubai for pineapples from NER has been ‘encouraging’ and another consignment of Kew variety of pineapple would be sent shortly. “High cost of transportation in north-east is a major constrain for shipment of perishable cargo. Due to which most of the fruits and vegetables grown in this region find it difficult to compete with the produce coming from other parts of the country,” Singh told FE.
He said that APEDA has been discussing possibility of increasing exports of agricultural commodities from NER with the private air carrier so that it would boost exports. India exported Rs 1.08 lakh crore worth of agricultural and processed foods in FY17. Basmati rice, buffalo meat, fruits and vegetables are the key commodities exported from the country. An APEDA official said that there is a possibility of shipment of Kiwi from Arunachal Pradesh soon.
The region — comprising of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim — has one of the richest reservoirs of genetic variability and diversity of various kinds of fruits, vegetables, spices, ornamental plants and also medicinal and aromatic plants.
Some of the key fruits and vegetables which have export potential from the region include Nagaland’s pineapples, Meghalaya’s ginger and turmeric, Manipur black rice and passion fruit, and the badi elaichi from Arunachal and Sikkim.
Meanwhile, APEDA has been working on a plan to promote exports of food products from north-eastern regions especially to Bangladesh and Myanmar. A commerce ministry official said the states have borders with Bhutan, Nepal, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar which provides the region a unique geographical advantage with respect to exports.