Exporters use air freight to circumvent Qatar border closure | Business | Ammon News

Exporters use air freight to circumvent Qatar border closure

[6/11/2017 6:14:21 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Exporters of fruits and vegetables are resorting to air freight to send agricultural produce to Qatar, as land borders with the Gulf state remain sealed, according to agricultural sector representatives.

But the quantities exported to Qatar via air freight are limited compared with the daily volume of exports before the closure of the Gulf state’s borders, they indicated.

President of the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruit and Vegetables, Saadi Abu Hammad, said that 90 tonnes of fruits and vegetables are being exported to Qatar via air freight daily.

‘‘This is a very small amount that generates only 15 per cent of the daily profits from exporting agricultural produce to Qatar. The amount could have been bigger if our airport was equipped and prepared for exporting large amounts of produce,’’ Abu Hammad told The Jordan Times.

Last week, Saudi Arabia and allies, including Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain, announced that they were severing diplomatic relations and closing land, air and sea links with Qatar, over claims it supports “terrorist groups”.

Scores of refrigerated trucks of fruits and vegetables destined for Qatar have returned to Jordan, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, which said that 400-600 tonnes of fruits and vegetables and 700-800 head of sheep were exported to Qatar daily before the borders’ closure.

Abu Hammad said that the country used to generate up to JD200,000 daily from exporting fruits and vegetables to Qatar.

Meanwhile, Zuhair Jweihan, president of the Jordan Exporters and Producers Society for Fruits and Vegetables, said that the amounts exported to Qatar are ‘‘minimal’’.

‘‘The amounts are very limited… we are holding meetings with government officials to find a solution,’’ Jweihan told The Jordan Times.

Meanwhile, a government official, who preferred to remain unnamed, said that ministers of agriculture and transport will soon visit Queen Alia International Airport, 30km south of Amman, to ‘‘check on the exporting process to Qatar via air freight’’.

Representatives of the agricultural sector said that the closure of the Qatari market to the country’s fruits and vegetables is “yet another blow” to the struggling agriculture sector, as a quarter of the country’s exports of fruits and vegetables is destined to Qatar, the exporters said.

The Karameh-Tureibil border crossing between Jordan and Iraq, the gateway for Jordanian produce to reach the Iraqi market, a major importer of Jordanian products, was closed in the summer of 2015.

In the same year, Jordan closed the Jaber border crossing with Syria for security reasons, while Ramtha, the other border crossing with the war-torn country, has been closed for nearly five years.

Meanwhile, the UAE, one of Jordan’s biggest importers of fruits and vegetables, banned the import of seven of Jordan’s vegetables as of mid-May over allegations of high pesticides residues.

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