After Nipah virus, it seems the turn has come for rain, floods and landslides to play spoilsport for Kerala’s banana and vegetable exports. On a usual day, the state exports fruits and vegetables worth Rs 1.8 crore to the Gulf. During Onam, this demand generally spirals. “Following the floods and the subsequent havoc to plantain and vegetable farms in north and central Kerala, the vegetable and fruit exports from three international airports in the state have taken a harsh beating. While atleast 120 tonne was exported per day this week only 100 tonne could be loaded,” Abraham Thomas, president, Agricultural Products and Processed Food Exporters Association, told FE.
Banana accounts for as much as 60-65% of the green exports from Kerala and the rest are vegetables. Of the banana varieties, nenthran plantain leads the food preferences of Kerala’s 20 lakh diaspora families fanning out in the GCC countries. It was only in June 2019 that Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on vegetables imported from Kerala. The ban was imposed as a preventive measure during the spead of Nipah virus. Hardly had the exports resumed, when the rains pummeled down the plantain availability.
Rain havoc in the farming areas in Wayanad, Kannur, Kasargode and Idukky have also created shortage of vegetables in the Kerala market. This , in turn, has emerged an opportunity for vegetable traders in Tamil Nadu.