Panic following a misinformation campaign on social media has hit the state's fruit and vegetable exports to Gulf.
The Nipah virus is not only claiming lives in Kerala but is also impacting the business of fruit and vegetable exporters as Gulf nations have put a stop on the import of consignments from Kerala until further notice, reports BusinessLine.
Kerala ships around 150 tonnes of perishable commodities like vegetables and fruits on a daily basis to Gulf countries and to Europe. Of this, shipments from Cochin International Airport alone constitutes around 100 tonnes.
But the outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala and its subsequent panic following a misinformation campaign on social media has hit the state's fruit and vegetable exports to Gulf.
Why the time of ban could cost the export business more?
“The timing of the ban is going to impact fruit exporters in a big way as Holy Ramadan in Gulf countries is on where fruits are an essential item for iftar,” said C Manoj of BVM Fruits, Kondotty, near Kozhikode who exports bananas, mangoes and pineapple through Karippur airport.
Another exporter told the paper that all Gulf countries except Saudi Arabia had embargoed perishable cargo from Kerala since the virus outbreak a fortnight ago. Now Saudi too has followed suit by stopping entry of all fresh vegetable and fruits from Kerala. However, exports to European countries are unaffected.
Exporters also pointed out that a majority of such cargo are sourced from neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu where the virus has not been detected.
How much has the Nipah outbreak cost the fruit and vegetable exporters in Kerala
According to Baby John, Executive Director of Vazhakkulam Pineapple Growers and Processors, pineapple exports to the Gulf have come to a standstill. Kerala exports 8-10 tonnes on a daily basis, garnering a revenue of Rs 3 lakh/day.PV Hamza, president of the Association told the paper that there was an impact on the market for 10-15 days after the outbreak of the disease, resulting a 50 per cent drop in business especially for small vendors. Fruit business in Kerala is around 600 tonnes per day, about Rs 2,000 crore.