Bhutan’s apple exports increase

Thimpu, October 5 :

With India’s main apple growing states recording poor yield this year, there has been considerable rise in exports there from Bhutan, say exporters.

As a result, exports to Bangladesh have dropped by about 1,500 tonnes this year. “This is largely because more Bhutanese are selling their apples to Indians,” said an exporter. Prices in Bangladesh, which increased from $550 a tonne to $580 when the season picked up, dropped to $500 by the end of August because the market was flooded with excess supply. The Bangladesh import syndicate tried to control the price, according to exporters. They said this year exports to India fetched about $30-40 more than what was paid by Bangladeshi importers. Officials of the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA)

said exports to India could not be certified because of the porous border.

Bhutanese suppliers exported quality apples straight to Indian buyers without involving exporters or the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB). This year, 428.83 tonnes of apples were auctioned to Indian buyers from the FCB’s auction yard in Phuentsholing.

“Importers from Assam and West Bengal come to Jaigaon and the auction yard to buy apples,” said Tshering Dorji of Kenpa Private limited. Exporter Nandalal Rai said a box of apples fetched only about 438 ngultrums (Rs 455 Indian Currency) on reaching the India-Bangladesh border.

The rates on reaching Phuentsholing from where the Indian buyers bought the apples were 480 to 500 ngultrums.