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Kerala’s Fruits, Vegetable Exports Not Likely To Get Hit By Qatar’s New Regulations

Qatar has implemented new controls on fruits and vegetables as of December 1 in order to ensure food safety and quality.

Chintu Das
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables

The new import regulations proposed by Qatar seem to have little effect on Kerala's fruit and vegetable exporters. 

From December 1, the Qatari Ministry of Municipality has enacted a new law requiring prior approval for the importation of fruits and vegetables. According to a trade notice, the new legislation is intended to assure product quality, prevent wastage, and ensure the availability of all food commodities in order to help Qatar achieve food security. 

"We strictly adhere to all quality requirements on all shipments not only to Qatar but to all other gulf destinations, and the trade notice appears to be a normal one issued by the health department there," said a source in Kerala's exporters' fraternity

150 Tonnes Day-to-Day Shipments 

Out of the 150 tonnes of daily shipments to all Gulf countries from the State, just 10-15 tonnes are exported to Qatar from the three airports combined. Kerala is meeting demand in certain ways, thanks to improved in-flight connectivity to Qatar. According to the source, roughly 15 flights per week cater to the trade-in Qatar, using both wide-bodied and narrow-bodied aircraft. 

The absence of flights to gulf countries, according to Dil Koshy, secretary of the Agriculture Products & Processed Food Exporters Association (Appexa), is causing a difficulty to the sector, since the Covid pandemic has affected the overseas flow of goods not only to Qatar but to all gulf countries. The lack of scheduled flights and airlines' operations based on passenger load is causing a slew of problems for exporters trying to meet their clients' delivery deadlines. These countries' incoming flights are only seeking available cargo, which is generally perishable. He added that the import of cargo has been hampered by the lack of needed aircraft from these destinations. 

It is noted that Qatar is a small market that relies significantly on imports, and as a result, it adheres to tight safety and quality standards for food commodities exported. The Municipality confiscated significant quantities of unfit for human consumption frozen meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables from warehouses and restaurants as part of an intense inspection campaign on food establishments in October. 

The new legislation is part of Qatar's National Food Security Strategy 2018-2023, which aims to strengthen local markets as well as streamline and simplify food standard governance to ensure food safety in the country. The policy also aims to cut food loss and waste, which is believed to be around 14%, from the moment food arrives in Qatar until the time it is transported from local farmers to customers. 

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