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Nipah virus threat followed by Kerala floods led to Pakistan gaining on export of fresh fruits and vegetables

As if the Nipah virus threat that led to several GCC countries banning import of fresh, chilled and frozen vegetables and fruits from Kerala was not enough, the recent floods in Kerala have further aggravated the situation, thus leading to Pakistan trying to gain on the void caused in the GCC market.

Evidently, the Nipah threat that led to the ban being imposed by the GCC countries, no longer exists. The Director of Food Safety & Environmental Health, Ministry of Public Health, Qatar has followed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in lifting the ban it had imposed on imports of fresh, chilled and frozen vegetables and fruits from Kerala after the outbreak of Nipah virus in the State. The remaining two countries, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain too are expected to remove the ban on imports from Kerala soon.

While the business community in Kerala was re-gearing itself to commence export, the recent floods have impacted the situation adversely. The threat of contagious diseases in Kerala in the aftermath of the floods is also affecting future export consignments. Kerala ships around 150 tonnes of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis to the GCC countries from the three airports in the State. With nearly the entire State going through the post-pangs of recuperating from the damage and loss caused by the flood, Pakistan is trying to cash in on the emerging situation.

As per Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Pakistan is hoping that the import of fruits and vegetables from Pakistan to Kuwait will double in this period when Kerala limps back to normalcy. News is that exporters from Pakistan have already gained on orders from the GCC country.

However, it is a matter of time when the situation in Kerala stabilizes completely and the Indian exporters try to compete and re-take the lost market, lost to our neighbouring country.

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