MALAPPURAM: The blockade on Qatar by Gulf countries has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the fruit and vegetable exporters in Karipur. The increased demand for vegetable in Qatar after its neighbouring countries cut road, air and sea travel and freight routes, has spurred exports from here. For the past week, the export from Karipur, which had taken a steep fall following ban on bigger aircrafts at the airport, has now gone up from around five tonnes a day to 10-15 tonnes. "There is huge demand for vegetables from here. Though we are grappling with limited cargo space in the passenger aircrafts, the exports from Karipur has touched around 15 tonnes a day as compared to earlier status of around five tonnes," says Sufiyan Kari, managing director of the Karipur based K.N.P Exports and Imports.
As there is no cargo flight service from Karipur, the consignments are being carried by passenger aircrafts of the different companies. The space for the cargo shipment is determined by airliners in accordance with the number of passengers. When there is a rush of passengers the cargo space will be cut by the companies. "Sometimes we have to stop accepting orders due to this. We often get orders for 20 tones of vegetables from major suppliers in Qatar. Many of them are also ready to pay in advance," he says. Besides the usual vegetables, the order is also pouring in for additional items such as tomato, mint leaves, carrot, cauliflower and green chilly.
The airline companies are also cashing in on the increased exports. Air India, Jet Airways and Oman Air flights have increased their cargo rates upto Rs 15 per kilogram while the Qatar Airways rates remain unchanged. "They are charging between Rs 53- Rs 60 per kg. Qatar Airways' charge of Rs 51 per kg has not changed," Sufiyan said. The Karipur based exporters have moved to CIAL after ban on wide bodied aircraft in Karipur. Statistics show that the cargo export from Karipur which stood at nearly 30,000 tonnes before 2015 ban has fallen to 14,000 tonnes last year.