Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Despite the pandemic, export of oranges from Samdrupjongkhar increased by 30 percent this year compared to the previous year, according to exporters.

Rinyang Export house exported more than 100 truckloads of oranges to Bangladesh and about 20 truckloads to India from its depot in Samdrupjongkhar until last week.  It exported about 80 truckloads the previous year.

An exporter, Seyna, said the orange quality was good this season.

Another exporter, Sherab Zangpo, said he exported more than 58 truckloads to Bangladesh and about 25 truckloads to India this season.

He, however, said they only fetched a price of USD 22 this time, while they fetched USD 26 to USD 27 last year.

He said they faced labour challenges, as the Bhutanese labourers were not experienced in grading and packing, adding that they fetched about Nu 270 to Nu 380 per pon from the loose packing export to India.

About 4,500 metric tonnes (MT) of oranges were exported from Samdrupjongkhar and earned Nu 127.384M, according to a press release issued by the eastern Covid-19 taskforce (EC-19TF).  The exporters exported about 3,438MT and generated Nu 116.52M last year.

The press release stated that the exports increased due to the import-export communication and coordination (IECC) system put in place by the EC-19TF.

The system supports all the agencies to coordinate through a single online platform, but in normal times, the exporters and importers have to run around different agencies looking for essential services.

“The IECC has benefited in many ways such as reducing in turn around time (TAT) and limited face-to-face interface, especially at the main gate point of entry,” it stated.