Export of vegetables witnessed a sharp fall in the first five months of the current fiscal year (FY) due to high prices in the local market and lack of European Union bound air cargos amid Covid pandemic, insiders said.
The export earnings stood at only US$ 45 million in the July-November period of FY 2020-21, according to the figures of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
It showed that the earnings from export of vegetables fell 64 per cent from $ 124 million of the corresponding period of last FY.
Overall income from vegetable exports was a record at $164 million in the FY’20.
The government has set a target to earn $ 230 million from vegetable shipments, which is unlikely to be achieved, said the exporters.
Shariful Alam, proprietor of Sohan Enterprise, said the shipments were made mainly to the Middle-Eastern countries, Malaysia and Nepal while more than half of the consignments were comprised of potato.
Except for cabbage, other veggies like country bean, brinjal, pointed gourd showed very poor performance due to their high prices in the local market, especially from July to November period, said the exporter.
According to the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM), the prices of 21 kinds of vegetables were 40-80 per cent higher during July-November period this year than the same period of 2019.
Brinjal, pointed gourd, country bean hovered between Tk 70 and Tk 120 a kg during the period, said the DAM.
However, the prices of vegetables started declining notably from the first week of this month (December).
Bangladesh Fruit, Vegetable and Allied Products Exporters’ Association (BFVAPEA) member Md Arif Azad Prince said lack of EU bound air cargos caused sharp fall in the vegetable exports.
He said the association had urged the government to arrange separate air cargo for exporting agriculture products, but yet to get it.