GUWAHATI, June 4 - Introduction of cargo flights from the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport will give major boost to agriculture sector in Assam and the export of agriculture products from Assam to different parts of the world is likely to grow in the coming days. A centre to handle perishable cargo is also being constructed at the Airport, which , when completed, will add to the benefits of the farmers.
Assam Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told The Assam Tribune that the cargo flights from Guwahati started because of the initiative taken by the present Government and hoped that the exports would increase in the days to come. The Government has already opened six collection centres in different parts of the State for collecting fruits and vegetables and more such centres would be set up in the coming days.
Giving details of starting of cargo flight services from Guwahati, the Minister said that a stakeholders� meet was organized in August last year in collaboration with the Airports Authority of India Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to discuss the possibility of exports directly from Assam and that marked the beginning of the project. The first step was to identify the exportable products and the process of talks started with the farmers, exporters and those involved in packaging. The subsidiary company of the AAI built two cold rooms in the LGBI airport and on Nomember 3, 2018 M/S Keiga Export took the first initiative to export two tones of vegetable to London via New Delhi.
After the first exports, on November 5 , M/S Kremeacraft took initiative to export two tones of papaya to Dubai. November 28, Spice Fresh (a subsidiary to SpiceJet) lifted about 8 ton of oranges from Dibrugarh airport to Dubai market via Delhi.
Patowary revealed that customs clearance facilities have also been introduced in LGBI Airport and from November last year till now, customs clearance of about 8.5 metric tonnes of goods were made in Guwahati. However, clearance of other consignments were made through Kolkata and Delhi airports due to lack of adequate facilities in Guwahati.
According to records available, so far, around 15 tonnes of papaya and bananas were exported to Dubai from Assam, while 30 tonnes of vegetable and pineapples were exported to London and Birmingham. Some of the vegetables were also sent to Germany by truck from London. Spicejet exported 30 tonnes of oranges and 31 types of vegetables to Hong Kong and Dubai. However, one party exported products via Delhi due to lack of adequate packaging facilities in Assam.
Air freight from Guwahti to Delhi is around Rs.21 per kg, while, from Delhi to London the rate is Rs.122 per kg ( earlier it was Rs.86 per kg ). The Guwahati- Dubai rate is� around Rs.131 per kg. Reduction of air freight may enhance the export from Assam. Harvesting season of pine apple and banana has started now and will remain for next 90 days only.�
Patowary revealed that a Centre for Perishable Cargo of AIDC is under construction in a plot of land allotted by AAI at LGBI Airport. Construction works in progress and likely to be completed by Decmber, 2019. Cost of the project is Rs.19.64 crore. Once completed, the centre may clear perishable goods of about 30 tonnes per day.
Apart from the goods sent via cargo flights, ginger and turmeric are being exported via Haldia port and Delhi Airport, while, Bangladesh is one of the biggest importers of ginger and lemon from Assam through the border points in Karimganj.