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Fruit, vegetable exports through Kozhikode Airport caught in Nipah virus scare, ET Infra


MUMBAI: Amidst the scare arising from a fresh outbreak of the deadly Nipah virus in Kerala’s northern district of Kozhikode that has killed two people, the state government said that fresh fruits and vegetables exported from Kerala through Cochin International Airport “can be considered as Nipah free and safe for human consumption”.

The “certificate” issued by A P M Mohammed Hanish, Principal Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Ayush, Industries and Revenue (WAQF) Departments, Kerala on 14 September has created ripples among farmers and traders in and around Kozhikode district and the adjoining areas on exporting fruits and vegetable through Kozhikode Airport.

“The certificate issued by the Principal Secretary, Government of Kerala, seems to isolate Kozhikode Airport which has shown huge traction in the export of fruits, vegetables and other perishables being in close proximity to Nanjangud, Chitrakoot and Ooty, that have large vegetable cultivation. Mere detection of Nipah Virus in the outskirts of Kozhikode district could hurt vegetable cultivating farmers thereby stagnating the economy”, said Munshid Ali, Secretary, Kerala Exporters’ Forum.

“The traders and exporters strongly disagree with the certificate issued to isolate Calicut International Airport in the name of Nipah Virus”, he added.

The certificate, according to Ali, was meaningless as the produce could be exported through Chennai or Bengaluru airports which has not raised alarm bells in the wake of the virus outbreak in Kerala.

Ali said that some 50-60 metric tons of fresh fruits and vegetables are exported daily through Kozhikode Airport to the Middle East, Europe and Ireland and the certificate issued by the Kerala government would stall the movement.

This is the fourth outbreak of the virus – spread via contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs or people – since 2018, in Kerala.

  • Published On Sep 15, 2023 at 06:14 PM IST

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