The export gave a major thurst to business, especially to products with Geographical Indications (GI), from the northeastern region. The Naga chillies consignment was procured from Kohima and other parts of Nagaland. It consisted of 250kg chillies as a sample shipment along with 500kg of betel leaf.
“Exporting fresh king chillies posed a challenge because of its highly perishable nature. The Nagaland chillies belongs to the genus Capsicum of the family Solanaceae. This variety has been considered the world’s hottest chilli and is constantly on the top five in the list of the world’s hottest chilies based on the SHUs,” said a statement from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
The consignment was sourced from Tening, a part of Peren district, Nagaland, and was packed at an APEDA-assisted facility here. The chillies from Nagaland is also referred to as Bhoot Jolokia or ghost pepper and got a GI certification in 2008.
APEDA in collaboration with the Nagaland State Agricultural Marketing Board (NSAMB), coordinated the first export consignment of fresh king chilli. APEDA had coordinated with NSAMB in sending samples for laboratory testing in June and July 2021 and the results were encouraging as it is grown organically.
In 2021, APEDA facilitated exports of jackfruits from Tripura to London and Germany, Assamese lemons to London, Assamese red rice to the United States and Leteku ‘Burmese Grape’ to Dubai.
Under the Krishi UDAN scheme of the Centre, NE airports have airlifted near about 2,000 MT perishable cargo to mainland India and as extended legs, have exported more than 25 items to various foreign destinations by offering 50% subsidy on freight and storage charges under Operation Green.
The consignment on Wednesday was shipped from Guwahati airport in the presence of chief guest S Sasikumar, joint director general of foreign trade and Ravi Kant, regional executive director, Airports Authority of India’s NE Region, and other dignitaries. Ravi Kant termed the occasion as special because of the GI of ‘Bhoot Zolokia’- the unique product of the Northeast getting exported to the global market. “We are very enthusiastic that the cargo export potential of the northeastern airports will grow and this will benefit local food producing organizations and farmers,” he said.
Airport officials insisted on the need to upgrade facilities in the logistics space to cater to the growing needs of trade and the air cargo industry. Vageesh Pandey, assistant director at Plant Quarantine Station, Guwahati, was pleased to issue a phytosanitary certificate for the chillies which is going for the first time from Assam to the United Kingdom. This certificate is globally accepted for plant and plant products from India to any foreign country. He said that on Saturday, there is a plan to send colocasia to the United Kingdom. “From next week we would be certifying daily one or two shipments from the NE region to all European countries,” Pandey added.
The Guwahati airport cargo terminal has exported local agri-products and fruits, including lemon, ginger, betel leaves and vegetables to various parts of the country and foreign destinations. These are mostly organic in nature with a high demand in domestic and international markets.