Bangladeshi tooth for Bhutanese apples

Dhaka, November 9:

Bangladesh has emerged the top consumer of Bhutanese apples with imports doubling to about $2 million in the last three months compared to a year-ago period. Bhut-an’s export of apples to Bangladesh amounted to 3,677 tonnes between August 1 and October 28, up from 1,931 tonnes in the same period last year, the New Age daily reported today quoting the Bhutan agriculture and food regulatory authority.

During the period, Indian importers bought 1,066 tonnes of apples from Bhutan. Export prices of apples ranged between $500 and $585 a tonne, the highest rate since 1992. According to Bangladeshi fruit sellers, Bhutanese exporters, supported by their government’s incentives and tax cuts by Bangladesh, have gradually expanded their market in the country. Before the export season began this year, Bhutanese exporters and Bangladeshi importers agreed on a minimum market price of $450 a tonne. But prices couldn’t stay at that rate due to the high cost of transport through Indian territory, traders said. The Bh-utanese agriculture authority said reduction of import duties by Bangl-adesh from 50 to 15 per cent on 18 Bhutanese goods boosted trade.