Kerala exporters of fruits and vegetables see no impact from the new import regulations announced by Qatar.
From December 1, the Qatar Ministry of Municipality has enacted a new regulation requiring prior permission for the importation of fruits and vegetables.
According to a trade notice, the new regulation is intended to ensure product quality, reduce waste, and ensure the availability of all food commodities in order to contribute to Qatar’s food security.
‘We strictly adhere to all quality standards on all exports not only to Qatar but to all other gulf destinations, and the trade notice appears to be a routine one issued by the health department there,’ said a source in Kerala’s exporters’ community.
Shipments every day
The amount of exports to Qatar from the three airports combined is barely 10-15 tonnes per day out of the State’s 150 tonnes daily shipments to all gulf countries. Kerala is meeting demand in some ways, thanks to improved in-flight connectivity to Qatar.
According to the source, there are currently around 15 flights per week catering to trade-in Qatar, using both wide-body and narrow-body aircraft.
The absence of flights to Gulf countries, according to Dil Koshy, secretary of the Agriculture Products & Processed Food Exporters Association (Appexa), is posing a problem to trade, as the Covid pandemic has disrupted the overseas movement of cargo not only to Qatar but to all gulf countries.
The shortage of scheduled flights, as well as the operations of airlines when there is a passenger load, is making it difficult for exporters to meet their clients’ delivery schedules. These incoming flights are only looking for available cargo, which is mostly perishable.
According to him, the import cargo has also suffered as a result of the lack of required flights from these destinations.
It is noted that because Qatar is a small market that relies heavily on imports, it adheres strictly to the safety and standards of food commodities exported.
As part of its rigorous inspection campaign on food places, the Municipality seized so many quantities of unfit for human consumption frozen meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables from warehouses and restaurants in October.
The new regulation is part of Qatar’s National Food Security Strategy 2018-23, which aims to improve local markets as well as to improve and simplify food standard governance in order to monitor food safety in the country.
The strategy also aims to reduce food loss and waste, which is estimated to be around 14% at the point of arrival in Qatar or during transportation from local farms to consumers.