West Bengal's orange producers find lucrative market in Bangladesh despite hindrances

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 26, 2012 11:30 hrs

Orange producers of West Bengal have found a lucrative market in Bangladesh, despite that country's government imposing a 26 percent import duty per kilogram on Indian fruits and vegetables

Bangladesh residents have their taste buds inclined to oranges produced in West Bengal.

In a recent move, the Bangladesh Government has begun to charge 26 percent import duty per kilogram on Indian fruits and vegetables, which has left a sour taste among Indian traders.

Gulab Chand Prasad, an exporter, said that traders have demanded for duty-free trade, which could help to give a boost to their business.

"We have very good relations with Bangladeshi traders, but the Bangladeshi government charges 26 percent import duty, which reduces scope of export market in Siliguri. We are asking for duty free trade and I hope that boosts our business in the northeast region," he said in Siliguri District.

According to media reports, an average of 100,000 tonnes of oranges is produced annually, out of which a share exported to Bangladesh and the rest is for the domestic market.

Every year, their transaction with Bangladesh traders is over Rs. 20 crores.

A trader from Bangladesh, Mohammad Alam Ghir Hussen, said that the sweet taste of oranges produced in West Bengal is in high demand by people residing in Bangladesh.

"The oranges from West Bengal that are exported through the border are in high demand in Bangladesh, Dhaka and other destinations in the country. The oranges from Bengal are liked by the people of Bangladesh," he said.

Traders from Bangladesh assemble in the regulated market of Siliguri each year to get as much stock of this seasonal fruit as much as they can.

Hussen expressed apprehension about Bangladesh's move to charge high import duty on fruits and vegetables, which could affect the export market.

"There is a good relation between Bangladesh and Indian traders, we have always done business together. But, Bangladesh's move to charge 26 percent import duty on fruits and other vegetables, which could lead to a halt in the export," he said.

Some Indian exporters said that they were mainly engaging in the trade of oranges though Changrabandha in Coochbehar district and Mehedipur in Malda district. (ANI)

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