Impartiality In Vegetable Exports – Who To Be Blamed ?


Kolkata: While political figures spend their day blaming against one another for the suicides of farmers, there are other factors responsible too. Half of the vegetables produced by our farmers fail to pass the normal test to be able to be exported to London.

There is a huge demand in the Indian community in London for vegetables from West Bengal, but the supply remains at a lower level. The demand for Nadia’s brinjal or Gaighata’s snake gourd never meets with its supply chain. Indians in London await their favourite vegetables but their entire wait goes in vain because none of those vegetables reach them just because of the lack of a proper structure.

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Lack of a proper structure does not only pose a problem to the foreign demands, but as its result, the business in the home ground suffers drastically. But the only exceptions are the successful export of vegetables like hyacinth beans, taro, kanthal, ridged gourd and papaya.

Why the differentiation in the vegetables for exports?

The previous sentence makes us notice that while 2 vegetables never gets to the plane to be exported to London/ Europe, the rest of the vegetables reach the international land regularly to be fed to the foreigners. But why brinjal and snake gourd cannot be exported? A proper justification for this has distinction has been forwarded to the state government. Efforts have been made to re-construct the malfunctioning structure. But in spite of so many efforts, the entire problem remains at least a thousand steps behind.

According to the rules in Europe, the aforementioned vegetables will have to undergo a ‘steam treatment’ before being sent out for exportation. But the problem is that such a mechanism or structure is missing in West Bengal. Now the question arises that, how are the other vegetables being exported without a steam treatment?

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The organization of exporters has said that there is a process which any crop has to undergo. The crop first needs to be taken to a pack house where it is carefully examined by National Plant Protection Organisation ( NPPO) , a national agency. If NPPO passes the vegetable, then the custom  department gives the permission for the vegetable to be exported out of India.

But there are only 2 private pack houses in South Bengal – one at Barasat, the other at Duttapukur. The officials from NPPO visit these 2 pack houses to examine the vegetable under consideration. Presence of bacteria in the crop is checked. The European Union has even said that special conservation is required for the vegetable to become eligible to be exported.

Present Scenario

A pack house, which WB has only 2.

Extra care needs to be taken for the vegetable to pass its examinations at the pack houses. But the required number of pack houses is drastically marginal. Hence, there seems to remain no opportunity for export even if there is the will to send it. But one thing is clear – the demand is huge. The exporters are at a huge loss as they are not being able to meet their supply with the demands due to the lack of a proper infrastructure. Not only Indians, but Bangladeshi communities are also in large numbers in London who demands for West Bengal’s crops/vegetables.

Regularly atleast 10 tonnes of hyacinth beans, papaya, gourds are making their way to London through Calcutta International Airport. But the present scenario states that it is impossible to change the picture immediately. It can be hoped that the scenario can be changed if the state government steps in, invests to help the farmers in earning more amount of money through these steps. Thus more revenue earned, more profit gained.

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