The All India Indo-Bangla Orange Export Association, Warud, has urged the central government to pursue Bangladesh to stall recent hike in import duty on oranges.
Sonu Khan, president of the association, said, “Recently the Bangladesh government proposed hike in import duty on oranges from present Rs31 per kg to Rs39 per kg. Already, the total tax incidence on import of oranges at present is over 92%, which is very high considering an essential food item, especially during Covid- 19.
The association has submitted a memorandum to various authorities including union roads and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, who was instrumental in restarting transport of oranges by railways. Secretary Ramesh Jichkar met Gadkari and highlighted the problem. Jichkar said, “Nagpur and Amravati divisions together produce 7 lakh MT oranges on 1.26 lakh hectares.
Of this, Bangladesh alone imports 25% of the produce, and the rest of the stock is supplied to Indian markets. If the import duty is hiked it will put an additional burden of Rs100 crore on traders.
Jichkar added that export of one truckload of orange (25tonnes) to Bangladesh costs Rs8.50 lakh. It includes the cost of labour, packaging, transport and duties. After the hike in import duty,
this cost will go up to Rs10 lakh. During season daily 250 truckloads of oranges are transported to Bangladesh,” said Jichkar. Gadkari has asked railway minister Piyush Goyal, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami to look into the matter.
Vice-president of the association, Taj Khan, said, Warud is the biggest supplier of oranges to Bangladesh and the volume of trade is growing historically. The demand for oranges has increased due to Covid-19 as it is a big source of Vitamin C. The hike in import duty will leave the farmers and traders high and dry.
Source : Times of India