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The supply to Qatar has received a boost since early this month after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, and Yemen severed diplomatic ties with Qatar and blocked access to Doha, Qatar’s capital, by land, sea, and air.
Maldives and Libya later joined the countries that have isolated Qatar. Consequently, importers in Qatar have been buying more from India.
To meet their immediate needs, importers in Doha have started transporting by air. Many cargo airlines have delivered goods in large quantities to Qatar in the past two weeks.
Confirming the development, a senior official of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) said: “India’s fruit and vegetables exports to Qatar have increased in the last two weeks probably due to halt in their exports from Doha’s neighbouring countries.”
India’s exports of fresh fruits and vegetables are rising for the past three years owing to local producers turning quality-conscious.
Also, Indian exporters have stepped up marketing, which has helped in price competitiveness in overseas markets.
The data compiled by Apeda show India’s exports of fresh fruit and vegetables at Rs 10,369.93 crore in the financial year 2016-17 compared to Rs 8,391.36 crore for the corresponding period last year. In terms of volumes, however, exports jumped to 4.1 million tonnes in FY17 versus 2.4 million tonnes in the previous fiscal year. West Asia contributes a major portion of India’s fruit and vegetables exports. A large quantity exported to West Asia goes to Qatar via other countries. But Doha has started importing from India directly.
The Apeda data show India’s direct exports to Qatar to be Rs 220 crore for FY17, an increase of 14 per cent from the previous year’s level of Rs 193 crore. “While fruit and vegetables exports to Qatar have increased in the past two weeks, the demand has not reached its limit due to Ramadan. Once this festival is over next week, new orders would start pouring in from Qatar,” said Anil Patil, proprietor, Incoexcofarms, a Pune-based fruit exporter.