Fresh, green Banarsi chillies that are famous for their pungent taste will now add flavour to dishes in Dubai. For the first time, a two-ton consignment of fresh local green chilies, which are grown in abundance in many rural pockets of Varanasi, has been exported by air from here. The consignment will land in Dubai on Thursday.
Lal Bahadur Shastri international airport (Varanasi) director AK Rai told HT, “This will be the first occasion when a consignment of fresh green chillies is being transported by air to Dubai.” The chillies were plucked from farms in the evening and brought to the airport by early morning. Rai said no perishable item from the Varanasi area was exported before.
It is an initiative by the central government to give local produce a market abroad especially as fresh green vegetables and green chilies are in demand in Dubai, he said. However, the exporter is a private player. Perishable cargo storage facilities are being built in Varanasi and Ghazipur to enable the export of produce from the region.
The chilies underwent quality check at quarantine plant at the airport. They were then loaded onto a Spicejet flight that took off for Dubai from the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi, on Wednesday evening. The consignment will reach Dubai on Thursday morning.
Rai and other airport staff expect the step to benefit farmers of Varanasi and neighbouring districts of Ghazipur, Chandauli and Ballia.
Green chilies are grown in abundance in Ramana, Badi Bari, Benipur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s adopted villages of Jayapur, Nagepur and Kakarahia and other hamlets. Besides chilli, a large number of farmers are involved in the cultivation of cauliflower and other vegetables.
A supply chain has already been developed.
Rai said the department of agriculture and farmers welfare set up a plant quarantine office at the airport a week ago. The department examines the quality of vegetables as per the requirement of the country to which the consignment is to be exported.
Soon, a cold storage will also be set up on the premises to maintain the freshness of vegetable consignments, Rai added.
Beans, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach, pumpkin, bitter gourd and gourd are also expected to be exported by air from here soon. Rai said this will help farmers get a good price for their produce.
He also said an integrated cargo complex will be developed at the airport so that fruits like guava, mango, watermelon and muskmelon may be exported from here.