Thimphu — The recent spurt of terrorist violence in Assam has hit Bhutan’s orange exports to Bangladesh that are routed through the northeastern Indian state.
The peak orange season, which started a month late in December, had to bear the brunt of violence in Assam let loose by the separatist outfit United Liberation Front of Asom. The suppliers were not able to send the fruit to the Phuentsholing depot on the border with India for export onwards to Bangladesh, Bhutan’s official Kuensel online newspaper reported Tuesday.
The suppliers were the ones badly affected as they had already paid the orchard owners in advance, forcing them to sell the oranges in the Indian market at prices 50 percent less, the online daily said.
The export figure for Bangladesh dropped to 4,820.556 tonnes as of Dec 31, 2006, from the 19,127.625 tonnes in Dec 31, 2005, Kuensel said quoting records with the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority.
According to an exporter, the Phuentsholing depot normally exported about 3,700 truckloads of oranges to Bangladesh.
“This year we won’t be able to send even 1,500 trucks,” Kuensel quoted Langa Dorji of Pin Nga exports as saying.