Home Business Saudi Arabia bans fruit and vegetables from India’s Kerala state

Saudi Arabia bans fruit and vegetables from India’s Kerala state

Saudi Arabia has banned imports of frozen and processed fruit and vegetables from India’s Kerala state, citing the risk from an outbreak of Nipah virus, Saudi Arabia said in a filing published by World Trade Organization on Thursday.

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News Analysis |

Saudi Arabia has banned imports of frozen and processed fruit and vegetables from India’s Kerala state, citing the risk from an outbreak of Nipah virus, Saudi Arabia said in a filing published by World Trade Organization on Thursday.

Nipah has killed at least 15 people in Kerala but no cases of the virus have been found outside the state. There is no vaccine for the virus which is spread through bodily fluids and can cause encephalitis or inflammation of the brain, the World Health Organization says.

This could be a major opportunity for Pakistani fruit exports as a major competitor seems to have been banned.  Earlier,  a committee at the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition — the Kuwaiti food safety and regulatory authority — cited Nipah virus outbreak in India’s Kerala as the reason behind the latest decision taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to ban Indian fruit imports. Infections were spreading in India’s Kerala and other states in its south due to the Nipah virus outbreak, the Kuwaiti ministry said, adding that it posed a risk to both humans and animals.

The fruits export during the period under review rose to $358.23 million from $342.01 million in July-April 2016-17, according to latest data revealed by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Wednesday.

Waheed Ahmed, the vice president at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI), explained that exports of fruits and vegetables from Pakistan to Kuwait would consequently double in volume now that the latter had banned the imports of the same from India owing to the outbreak of the Nipah virus.

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Noting that the Nipah virus had, at present, affected two states in India, Ahmed reiterated the Kuwaiti Food Safety Review’s warning that the Nipah virus posed a risk to both humans and animals. Kuwait had earlier announced that it was implementing a ban on the imports of fruits and vegetables from India, according to a statement by its trade ministry.

Last week, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had also imposed a ban on fruits and vegetables from Kerala, the Indian state, due to the same Nipah virus outbreak. The rare brain-damaging Nipah virus has killed 13 people in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the UAE noted on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia has banned imports of frozen and processed fruit and vegetables from India’s Kerala state, citing the risk from an outbreak of Nipah virus, Saudi Arabia said in a filing published by World Trade Organization on Thursday.

The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCaE) also notified other local authorities, including the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and the municipalities of its emirates, to prevent the entry of any fresh produce from Kerala, it had said in a statement.

Read more: India and Saudi Arabia: Two countries going in unexpected directions

Export of fruits from the country increased by 4.74 percent during first 10 months of the current fiscal year as compared to same period of the preceding fiscal year. The fruits export during the period under review rose to $358.23 million from $342.01 million in July-April 2016-17, according to latest data revealed by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Wednesday.

On a year-on-year basis, the fruits export also witnessed an increase of 16.62 percent as it soared to $18.54 million in April 2018 from $15.89 million in the same month of last year. On monthly basis, however, the export of fruits declined by 58 percent as $44.7m worth of export was recorded in March 2018.

 


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