Chimi Dema| Tsirang 

With the demand for oranges dropping by almost eighty percent compared to past years, local exporters are worried.

According to Tsirang-based exporter, Dina Nath Adhikari, who exports oranges to Bangladesh, importers place order only for a truckload of orange in two days.

“With this trend, it would be difficult to complete the export even by May.”

He said that exporters receive orders for only three truckloads for a letter of credit (LC). “In the past, we receive orders for at least 15 trucks in an LC.”

Dina Nath Adhikari also said delay in providing LC is also affecting the business. “I could only export 30 percent of oranges since the export began on December 15.”

In absence of smooth export, he said that he had to throw away perished goods worth Nu 200,000.  “If things don’t improve within a week, I am planning to close my depot as I am running into loss now.”

Another exporter who supplies oranges from Tsirang and Dagana said that the shortage of labour for grading and packing at the depot is impeding export. “Reduced price of oranges is also disappointing.”

As per the LC, each box of small orange earned about Nu 875 (USD 12) and a box of big orange earned Nu 1,094 (USD 15).

In addition to the impact of the current pandemic on the export market, exporters assume that the drop of orange demand could also have been caused by absence of importers from Bangladesh inspecting the products.

A group of importers are in facility quarantine.

The exporters also said that it would benefit farmers if local food processing industries buy the oranges.

The exporters, however said that the Dzongkhag administration has been facilitating transport of oranges despite the nationwide lockdown.