For most banana exporters in Pollachi in the state of Tamilnadu, the year 2020 will be a year remembered for all the wrong reasons. Obviously, the outbreak of the most catastrophic pandemic, namely the COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus, brought almost all businesses to a standstill, in addition to the millions of lives consumed by the deadly virus. With hopes shattered, confidence lost and uncertainty looming in at large, even as we enter the new year stealthily, the situation seemed grounded to the fact that time is not yet ripe for the export of agro-based products.
From buffalo meet and rice to perishable products, including bananas, exports of major agricultural produce from our country has been severely hit to the worsening coronavirus outbreak in the European Union (EU), South-east Asia and West Asia. For instance, India is one of the largest exporters of bananas in the world, but shipments from Southern Indian ports have almost come to a grinding halt.
Most banana exporters in Pollachi have witnessed an unprecedented loss of almost 90 percent since last year, following the outbreak of the pandemic, with everyone stuck at home. This is also due to the fact that there were no new takers or enquiries or fresh orders. Although 2021 promises hope, exports of bananas have seen a new low following a dip in farm gate prices. For most banana exporters in the region of Pollachi, which supplies fresh bananas to West Asia, disruption in logistics, both air and ship, has emerged as the biggest challenge.
Also, the export units are now confronting a shortage of shipping containers, but with the situation in China slightly improving and things returning to normalcy, banana exporters in several regions of Pollachi have now started to get some export enquiries. We hope the situation may turn around in the coming months as demand increases with improved prices.