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Tastes the same, costs less

By Marcus Dam

KOLKATA, JUNE 19. Though Londoners have, according to feedback, taken enthusiastically to mangoes from West Bengal, the State's Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation exporting the fruit is concerned over reports of Bangladeshi supplies of the same variety being made available in the fruit markets of the United Kingdom at a cheaper price.

This, it is feared, could affect the exports from the State. Ironically, the mangoes being exported by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs are procured from West Bengal's Malda district from where the State corporation too gets its supplies. They are transported to Bangladesh in trucks and flown to London.

Mangoes reaching from Bangladesh are cheaper because the air freight costs from Dhaka are lower than those charged by the airlines from Kolkata, West Bengal's Minister for Food Processing and Horticulture, Sailen Sarkar, told The Hindu over telephone from Malda.

``Bangladeshi exporters are enjoying the advantage of lower freight charges. We are requesting the authorities of international airlines which have flights to London from here to lower their rates so that our mangoes can be available at more competitive prices in markets abroad,'' Mr. Sarkar said. He also plans to take up the matter with the Chief Minister so that the issue could be taken up with the Centre.

The Managing Director of the corporation, N. Hazra, said mangoes exported from the State, though sold at higher prices in the London markets, had ready buyers as they were fresher than those from Bangladesh. ``We are considering the feasibility of increasing the size of each consignment and reducing the frequency of supplies to make it more economical.''

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