The North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited’s (Neramac) plan to export 400 metric tonnes of pineapples to Bangladesh had to be scaled down, as it could not do so on its own owing to various problems.
Sources said the corporation had to scale down the consignment to 70 metric tonnes, of which 12.5 metric tonnes were exported on Thursday through Kailashahar in North Tripura.
“We, by ourselves, could not export it, and had to facilitate the deal through an entrepreneur, Litan Das, of Tripura,” Neramac managing director S. Bhattacharjee told The Telegraph.
He said the corporation could not export the pineapples on its own because of some problems.
A lot of time had elapsed for getting the negotiations cleared, Bhattacharjee said, adding, “As the pineapple season is short, the deal had to be carried through, as otherwise we would have had to wait for one more year,” he said.
He said they would be trying their best to send the remaining stock by this month as the season was coming to an end.
“It may not be a win-win situation for us financially, but at least the process for exports to Bangladesh has started,” he said.
Sources said the problem with pineapples in the Northeast was that the fruit was available for not more than three months a year, whereas it is available throughout the year around the world. Karnataka produces the fruit for more than 10 months a year.
Yet another problem was that it had to be exported through Kailashahar and not through Akhaura border as planned.
The pineapples were exported to Pinki Traders at Moulvi bazar in Bangladesh.
“This was the first export of pineapples to Bangladesh and may be from next year, we can export more,” he said, adding that they would also become more professional in their approach from next year.
The productivity of pineapples in India is low as the yield per hectare is 25-30 metric tonnes against 60-90 metric tonnes in Thailand, where a fruit weighs 1.5kg - 2kg compared to the 0.7-1.5kg Indian average.
The corporation had signed a memorandum of understanding with Tripura Pineapple Growers Society to procure 500 metric tonnes of the fruit.
It is into pineapple production and marketing from 1988 and has been supplying food giants like Godrej Foods, Dabur Foods and Surya Foods.
Tripura is the fifth largest producer of pineapples in India and accounts for 9.6 per cent of the country’s total production. Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, pineapple production in the state increased from 1.06 lakh metric tonnes to 1.17 lakh metric tonnes.