Thimphu: With the elimination of syndicate partners, Bhutan’s orange exports to India and Bangladesh have seen a considerable surge this year.
According to Bhutan Agricultural Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), 17,208.084 metric tonnes of oranges were exported to Bangladesh and 1,395.207 metric tonnes to India till February 20.
Exporters at the Toorsa orange depot in Phuentsholing said they were satisfied with the prices the fruit fetched this season, which jumped to a high of $18 per box.
“With the elimination of syndicate partners last year, local exporters this season had more control over the prices and flow of the fruit,” said Tshering Yeshey, trade officer of Bhutan Exporters Association.
He said the presence of syndicates had affected the national exporters as they reserved the orchards in advance.
“This season, the production and prices are better as compared to past few years,” Yeshey told the Kuensel.
Last season, only 1,500 trucks of oranges were exported and the highest price was $9 a box.
Terrorist violence in northeast India, through which Bhutan’s orange exports to Bangladesh are routed, had also hit trade in the past few years.
Ugyen Dorji, a BAFRA official, said in previous years, inspectors checked each and every box, but due to complaints from exporters on having to repack oranges, inspections are now made randomly, as decided in the meeting held at the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The orange export season creates temporary employment for hundreds of workers, who includes students on holiday, for moving, sorting and packing oranges.