New protocols will soon boost shipping of fruits and vegetables by sea – Economy News

Despite the ban on wheat and restrictions on rice exports, India’s overall food exports are still going strong thanks to a strong revival in fruit and vegetable exports. The government is developing protocols for transporting these products by sea to capture a larger share of the market, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Currently, high-quality fruits and vegetables are transported by air, which increases costs and weakens the competitive advantage in the global market. To address this, maritime protocols are being developed for bananas, mangoes, pomegranates and jackfruit which would reduce transportation costs and increase volumes, said Rajesh Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce.

The protocol involves understanding the travel time and scientifically understanding the ripening cycle of these products so that they are harvested at the right time and can survive the time it takes to reach supermarket shelves. These protocols will be different for different fruits and vegetables and will also include farmer training

To start with, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), along with other stakeholders, developed these protocols for bananas.

“We have done dummy tests in a container and now, for the actual testing, the first container has been shipped

to Rotterdam, Netherlands. We are confident that this will be successful, and once this is done and importers start accepting it, volumes will increase substantially, he added.

Importing countries will also have to come on board to accept these shipments.

For the trial shipment of bananas, the Agricultural and Processed Foods Products Export Development Authority has sought the support of the Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow. Del Monte for marketing and distribution in Europe and Maersk for logistics.

Despite being the world’s largest banana producer, India’s export share currently stands at just 1% of the global market, even though the country is responsible for 26.5% of the world’s banana production with 35.36 million tonnes. In 2022-23, India exported 0.36 tonnes of bananas worth US$176 million.

In the April-August period this year, mango exports increased by 19% to $47.98 million. Besides the US, the main destinations are Japan, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. In April-October during this fiscal, exports of fruits and vegetables grew by about 13 percent to about $1.8 billion.

In addition to fruit and vegetables, food exports have been helped by an upturn in maritime exports in recent months.

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