A Correspondent

To link farming community with buyers abroad

‘Growers can engage in buy-back agreements’

Nedumbassery: The Cochin International airport Limited (CIAL) is planning to organise a ‘farmers’ conclave’ to connect the local farming community to the buyers abroad through the recently launched Centre for Perishable Cargo (CPC), according to airport officials.

They said that by bringing the farmers, the horticulture mission and the potential buyers on a single platform, the airport company expected to provide an opportunity to the growers to engage in buy-back agreements periodically with their potential buyers overseas. They also hoped to identify various areas of cooperation with the farming community to ensure fuller utilisation of the infrastructure through the initiative.

The conference would be held at the airport within a couple of months after the general elections and the airport company, through this initiative, sought to provide a permanent stream of income for their client farmers, said the officials.

The airport company had ordered fifty specially designed cargo containers for the full fledged operation of the CPC. These will reach the airport in three or four stages. However, the officials held the view that the full-fledged operations would begin once the ongoing runway re-carpeting was completed.

According to the officials, the daily average export of vegetables and flowers through the airport was around 50- 60 tonnes and this was expected to rise further during the festival seasons when the flights would carry exclusive cargos for the Gulf Countries. “Efforts are on to reach the perishable export through here at 100 tonnes a day and we hope to achieve the target within a period of six months,”, they added.

The officials also said though export of general cargo had fallen slightly following the recession, they were trying hard to maintain the level of operations by increasing the quantity of perishable cargo.

With the CPC that has a capacity to handle around 25,000 tonnes of cargo annually, the CIAL aims to increase its present volume of agro products export from 10,000 tonnes to 30,000 tonnes by the year 2015.

“The CIAL has been in touch with the cultivators even outside the State, but they cannot make an overnight shift in their agreement with the exporter and the buyer. However, with the installation of an IT-enabled customs clearance system (EDIMES) and once the proposed agreements on sales tax with the Walayar check-post come into effect, the products even from the neighbouring States would soon start moving overseas from here,” say the officials.