Bangladesh’s produce exporters have appealed to their government to lower freight rates in a bid to boost export earnings, according to a report in The New Nation.
The call from the Bangladesh Food and Vegetable and Allied Products Exporters Association (BFVAEA) comes after their figures showed a potential Tk400crore loss in earnings last fiscal year due to high shipping costs.
BFVAEA president SM Jahangir said export earnings from vegetables would have risen to Tk 1,000 crore in 2007-08 if the government had reduced freight fares. As it stood, vegetable exports generated over Tk600 crore in that period, according to BFVAEA figures.
He called upon the government to take the necessary steps to fix the fare to Tk 130 (down from Tk 160) for access to European vegetable markets, and to Tk 65 (down from Tk 80) to Middle East markets.
"We exported vegetables to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu-Dubai, Bahrain, Oman and some other Middle Eastern countries. We also exported to United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Greece and some other European countries," Mr Jahangir is quoted as saying. "The freight fare charge for export per kilogram of vegetable to the European market is Tk 160 and Tk 80 per kilogram to the Middle East.”
Last year, around 60 per cent of vegetable shipments went to Middle Eastern countries, and the remainder to Europe and the US, according to BFVAEA sources.
According to Bangladesh’s Export Promotion Bureau, the value of Bangladesh’s vegetable exports was up 70 per cent in 2007-08 over the prior year.