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FRUITS & VEGETABLE

APEDA, ICAR-NCRB ink MoU to export Nendran banana via sea route to Dubai
Thursday, 08 February, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shraddha Joshi, Mumbai
In order to minimise the export cost, APEDA and ICAR-NCRB inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a consultancy project, titled Development of Sea Protocol for the Trial Sea Shipment of Traditional Nendran banana to Dubai, in partnership with Fair Exports India Pvt Ltd, Kochi.

This was aimed at putting in place a standard shipment protocol for the export of Nendran, a traditional variety of banana, from the city in Kerala to the emirate.

Rationale of the project
The demand for traditional varieties of good-quality ethnic bananas from India is increasing, which is giving rise to the export of the fruit in huge volumes. Thus, the development of the sea protocol was a pre-requisite to meet this increasing demand.

The process for export had began with the identification of suitable orchards. The expert team visited various fields in parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka where good-quality bunches were available. The orchards in Chamrajnagara were chosen for the export of bananas.

A team of experts from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB), along with the constant support of  the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the officials led by Fair Exports (India) Pvt Ltd, accomplished the task with the successful sailing of two consignments.

The project was represented by R Ravindra, deputy general manager, APEDA, Bengaluru. He said, “The cost of export incurred via the sea route is much cheaper than that incurred by air. While the export cost incurred by air is Rs 60 per kg, it is just Rs 10 per kg if it is exported via sea.”

He added, “The purpose of this project was to look at the price component, as there is a Rs 50 drop in the export cost. The aim is to become competitive in the export market. There was no protocol earlier. The entire cost of the project was undertaken by APEDA, including those incurred in bringing exporters together and assisting the scientists.”

India is the largest producer of bananas, with an annual production of 30 million tonne in an area of 0.8 million hectare.

According to a report, “The share of Cavendish bananas is the highest in the global banana export. A few varieties of Indian bananas are found in hypermarkets, especially in the West Asian and Southeast Asian markets, due to the settlement of a large population of Indian descent.”

Nendran, Ney Poovan and red banana are a few Indian varieties.

“Nendran, a commercial plantain variety from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and parts of Karnataka, has a share of 50 per cent in these states and are sold locally. However, at present, the expenses incurred on exporting the fruit by air is much higher. This is diminishing the scope for the sustainability and profitability of business,” the report stated.

Therefore, to embark on a new voyage to Dubai with its Made in India farm-fresh Nendran bananas, ICAR-NRCB and APEDA inked an MoU. It was a first-of-its-kind attempt.

With NRCB’s guidance, two consignments of nine and 11 tonne of Nendran banana were loaded in 20ft reefer containers and flagged off from Kochi port on July 31 and October 22, 2017, respectively, and reached Dubai port 12 days later. The fruits were exposed to ethylene at the LuLu facility for uniform ripening as soon as they arrived in Dubai and were displayed in the retail stores at LuLu Hyper Mall.

Ravindra added, “After the two successful trials, 10 more consignments were exported. Each of these carried 10 tonne of Nendran bananas. APEDA and NCRB are now working on another project targeted at the export of two varieties of bananas, Yalakki from Karnataka and Chinai from Bihar. The project is in the pipeline.”

Stated an NRCB official, “Sea voyages are much cheaper and will reduce the cost by 1/7th vis-a-vis flights. NCRB has assured that efforts will be put in to develop protocols for the export of other traditional varieties like red banana and Ney Poovan in the subsequent season.”

“Besides this, we are working with the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru, to export other fruits and vegetables like papaya, guava, Bangalore blue grape (mainly used to make juice) and capsicum,” he added.
 
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