Debating India


Pineapple export via sea a big success

Thursday 9 February 2006

Staff Reporter

Cost-effective alternative to air transport

KOCHI: Thousands of pineapple farmers in the district expect to make significant gains from the success of an experiment by the Vegetables and Fruits Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK) in using reefer containers for shipping pineapple to the Gulf destinations.

The success offers a financially viable alternative to the costly air transport of pineapples that are in great demand in the Gulf countries. Air transport costs three times as much and it is a positive development for the fruits export business here, said Chief Executive Officer of the Council Ashok Kumar Thekkan here on Tuesday.

Last week’s shipment of 18 tonnes were procured from farmers under the VFPCK programme at Mazhuvannoor, near here. The pineapple consignment of 18 tonnes was shipped to Dubai last week with sufficient precaution. The maturity and condition of the fruits were ascertained before they were shipped, said Mr. Thekkan.

The first experiment by VFPCK to use the sea route to the Gulf had failed and it has been found that with careful procurement and sufficient precaution, pineapples can be preserved for more than 20 days.

Encouraged by the success of the pineapple experiment, VFPCK is set to ship five tonnes of bananas to Dubai this week. The consignment is meant for the International Banana Festival that was earlier scheduled for late December.

It if the experiment is successful, it would be a big a gain for banana exporters here, including VFPCK, who find airfreight unviable. Transporting a kilo of bananas to the Gulf via air cost Rs.60 whereas transporting it via the sea costs just Rs.20, said Mr. Thekkan.

VFPCK will represent Kerala at the international banana festival. Thirty varieties of bananas will be displayed at a show being organised at the Lulu supermarket branches in Dubai. The trial shipment comprises five varieties, including the various eco-types of nendran. Commercially important varieties being sent to the show include Changanassery nendran, chemkadali, njalippoovan and poovan.

Both the indigenous and commercially important varieties from Kerala would be on show at the festival.

It would be a good opportunity to ascertain the market potential for Kerala bananas, said Mr. Thekkan. There are 80,000 farmers under the VFPCK programme and more than 1.5 lakh hectares are under banana cultivation.

Meanwhile, VFPCK has received firm orders for 100 tonnes of mangoes from Dubai and will be exporting the consignment as the mango season sets in.

The council is expected to procure mangoes in the ensuing season from Muthalamada area in Palakkad district.

See online : The Hindu

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