Express News Service

AHMEDABAD:  Gujarat’s Kutch date palm farmers face the brunt of Bangladesh’s seven-fold rise in import taxes on Khaarek (Dates) this year. The duty on dates shipped to Bangladesh was previously Rs 10 per kilogram; Now, the duty has been raised from Rs 10 to Rs 80. Over 600 tonnes of Khaarek are annually exported from Kutch to Bangladesh, but exporters have stopped doing so, leaving farmers with an overabundance of the stock.

Kutchi Khaarek is one of many distinct kinds of food products that are exported from Gujarat’s Kutch region to nations and throughout the world. However, this year the Kutch farmers had to suffer because of the BiparJoy storm on the one hand, the ongoing rains for the past few days have greatly reduced the farmers’ ability to produce Khaarek, and now Bangladesh has made things much more difficult for the farmers.

Bangladesh has raised the import duty on Kharek from Rs 10.83 to Rs 80, causing farmers and exporters to raise Kharek prices. People in Bangladesh can no longer afford to buy food as prices rise, thus exports have ceased.

Jamal Shaikh, a Kutchi Khaarek exporter in Calcutta said “We buy Khaarek from Kutch and export it to Bangladesh, Concerning the tax imposed by Bangladesh on Khaarek, it was 10.83 paise in 2021, 33 rupees in 2022, but all of sudden in 2023, Bangladesh government Announce 64.50 rupees in new budget, Soon After a week, the tax was raised to 80 rupees.”

“In this case, we were paying 3.5 lakh rupees in tax in 2022 on a full truck of Khaarek, 6.5 lakh rupees in 2023, and 8.5 lakh rupees after that week.” Explaining Import Situation Jamal Said “Bangladeshi importers are afraid to do business in such a situation. Because if you buy Khaarek from India for 30 rupees per kg, you must pay a tax of 80 to 85 rupees in Bangladesh. And one kg of packing costs 18 to 20 rupees, thus if the 30 rupees Khaarek is sold for more than 130 rupees in Bangladesh, who will buy it? As a result, Bangladeshi traders have ceased purchasing Khaarek.”

According to a local farmer in Kutch, Khaarek has grown on roughly 19 thousand hectares in Kutch, with an annual production of approximately 1.75 lakh tonnes of Khaarek. Farmers place a greater emphasis on exports due to the enormous volume of production. After the Kutch mango, Khaarek is the most popular fruit.

Harsh Thakkar, a farmer from Kutch, said “First there was damage to agriculture in the cyclone, then heavy rains, and now the export has been halted, and the farmers are suffering a huge loss. In this circumstance, the exporter traders will receive earn Money from other sources, but the farmers will become debtors if the government did not intervene soon,” 

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