According to the Department of Agriculture and Marketing Cooperatives under Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, since vegetables are considered essential items, it is expected that its movement as export and import will be allowed even under lockdown situation in the neighboring states of India.
The department said that if it is not permitted, the department may have to consider other alternatives, such as selling in domestic markets, preserving in cold stores, or processing, such as drying, and, if all else fails, the government may decide to use the Buy-Back Scheme to protect the producers from severe economic loss. However, there are no major exports of vegetables at this time as the export season starts only towards middle of May.
DAMC facilitate exports in the areas where there are issues or hindrances during the process of export. Despite couple of lockdowns in the past, the government has facilitated export following the prescribed Covid-19 containment protocols. The same is being applied currently.
As per DAMC, there were some disruptions to the vegetable export last year because of the need to follow disease containment measures and temporary lockdowns sometimes in Bhutan and other times in India.
As long as the disease is not completely contained, DAMC will have to continue following the protocols prescribed by the government, but they are optimistic that exports will continue without major disruptions; mostly by the FCBL but also by the private traders. Wherever intervention is necessary, the ministry will provide the support.