The export of 100 tonnes of fruits and vegetables from Kerala to UAE is likely to get affected due to the outbreak of Nipah virus. The deadly disease has already started to impact its tourism leading to a decline in the revenue. The fresh produce from Kerala to UAE will be banned by the government of UAE. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said that the ban was based on the information published by WHO regarding the outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala.
The primary indications show fruit bats as the main host of the virus. The virus is transferred through the secretions of the bats. The most preferred fruits of bats are mangoes, bananas, and dates. Apart from the ban on imports from Kerala the UAE government has also banned live animals from South Africa. The ban on imports from Africa is due to the outbreak of Rift Valley Fever disease.
The Food Alert System
The Ministry of UAE said that the ban is due to the Federal Law No 10 of 2015 on food safety. The government has also issued circular to Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority for the ban. The municipalities of Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah also received the circular. UAE has always been famous for its strict rules and this applies to the ban too. The Indian Ambassador to the UAE has requested the UAE government to think over the decision.
The Major Exports
UAE is like a second home for every Keralites. Majority of the immigrants in Dubai are Malayalees. Kerala shares a unique bond with the land of oil. Therefore, a large number of Keralites have developed their business kingdom in Dubai starting from oil extracting companies to big shopping malls and restaurants.
Most of the restaurants aim to provide the traditional cuisine to the people away from Kerala. Therefore, Kerala exports a wide range of fresh fruits an vegetables to UAE. The major exports from Kerala are drumsticks, coconut, jackfruit, okra, mangoes, shallots, yardlong beans etc. Moreover, during festivals, Kerala also exports banana leaves for the Keralites to enjoy a traditional meal.
As a matter of fact, the ban will affect the restaurant industry in a massive way. Moreover, this Ramadan season people in UAE will have a hard time to substitute for Indian veggies. Likewise, the local markets are very much depended on the fresh produce from Kerala.
As of now, Kerala government has not confirmed fruit bats as the primary source of the disease. Studies are in full swing to find the cause. The early arrival of monsoon has created a barricade for collecting fresh samples for studies. The Nipah virus resulted in the death of 13 people in the state.