Amritsar, September 20
As agricultural experts and the government emphasize shifting from the conventional cycle cycle of paddy and wheat to other crops, the export of fresh agricultural produce from the perishable cargo hub of Sri Guru International Airport Ram Dass Jee needs to be stimulated.
Taking advantage of Air India’s direct Amritsar-London flight three times a week, some exporters in Punjab and Haryana are exporting fresh agricultural produce like baby corn, mango and other seasonal fruits and vegetables to Europe .
Azad Singh, head of the center at the airport, said the center exported 400 tonnes of fresh agricultural cargo in the fiscal year 2021-2022. “There is great potential for agricultural and non-vegetarian items. Besides farm-fresh produce, the center exports chess, pharmaceuticals, ready-made garments, shawls, sporting goods, engineering goods, and more. “, did he declare.
The journey of perishable goods has never been smooth. Initially, Jet Airways had been involved in exporting fresh vegetables to London since July 2006. The recession induced by the subprime mortgage crisis had forced the private airline to withdraw the flight. Later, Air India bridged the gap for a time by finally withdrawing its Amritsar-London-Toronto flight on October 30, 2010. The export of fresh cargo had resumed only after the introduction of a one-way direct service -return three times a week by BMI. on the London-Almaty-Amritsar section from 14 October 2011. Subsequently, it was also withdrawn.
Now, Air India’s thrice-weekly flight to London offers a capacity of around 12 tonnes of cargo on each aircraft. Farm Fresh Center staff say a flight carries an average of three tonnes of cargo. There was a time when more than 1 lakh kg of fresh vegetables were exported in 2006-07, the following year the volume soared to 2.78 lakh kg. In 2008-2009, it reached 6.23 lakh kg and the following year saw an export of 9.08 lakh kg.
Kuljit Singh, a progressive farmer, said the data apparently showed that to regain those export levels, airlines needed to provide regular connectivity. In addition, the government must take a proactive role to make the most of the infrastructure.