VIJAYAWADA: The 10-tonne capacity cargo service in Gannavaram airport, which has been functional since August 1, is hardly being used by aqua and agricultural exporters, though it happens to be the cheaper way as compared to the one they use for transportation of cargo.
K.Venkata Rama Rao, Founder of Shreepa Logistics, agency in-charge of Gannavaram airport’s cargo service, said, “It costs Rs 12 per kg to export goods from Vijayawada to Delhi while it costs Rs 32 per kg to export them from Hyderabad to Delhi. Though this sounds like a no-brainer, some exporters are opting to export from Hyderabad as they are unaware of the cheaper cargo service available from Gannavaram airport despite all the media reports.”
Despite direct appeals from Shreepa Logistics, there has been no change in the situation. “Though we have held several meetings to deal directly with the farmers, the response was not that encouraging. Unfortunately, not even middlemen have approached us till now. However, we want to help the farmers, so we are going to engage with them again. We will conduct seminars and workshops to raise awareness among them,” said Rama Rao.
This ignorance is leaving a huge potential untapped, as Delhi’s prices of aquaculture and agricultural products are more than triple the prices in Andhra Pradesh.
Shrimp in Delhi is sold at Rs 800 to Rs 1500 per kg while it sells for a mere Rs 250 to Rs 450 in Andhra Pradesh.
“When it comes to Guntur G4 chilli, there is a heavy demand in Delhi. It is sold at exorbitant prices as it is very rare there. We want to rope-in Guntur chilli farmers directly. We are going to hold meetings with them soon,” Rama Rao said.
He further claimed that Indigo will start operating flights from Gannvaram airport in September and the cargo service’s capacity will go up to 12-tonnes.
However, Gannavaram airport’s Director, G Madhu Sudhan Rao, told TNIE that Indigo, which is to park its first aircraft in Gannavaram airport on September 15 and bring in the rest of the three intermittently ‘in phases’, has not decided the destinations of its flights. “They have taken permission to operate from September 1 but have decided to be prudent and start operating their first aircraft from September 15; they will introduce the rest three in phases based on the passenger traffic.”
When asked about the exporters’ ignorance of the cargo service by exporters, official sources from Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA), told TNIE that meetings have been held with exporters and awareness is being created about the cargo service at Gannavaram Airport.
K Seetharamaraju, Assistant Director, Fisheries, said, “Aquaculture exports will only benefit exporters. It will not benefit aquaculture farmers who sell them to the intermediaries as farmers do not engage in trading even if they are approached directly. They stick to farming.”
Ramesh Babu, an exporter of flowers to Malaysia and importer from Bangalore, based in Mylavaram, Krishna district, said, “My uncle and family members are farmers. Since I am educated, I can take care of trading and ensure they get fair returns. However, most other farmers do not have the opportunity and intermediaries fleece them. They are also unaware that there is a cargo service as they do not follow the news and don’t keep up.”
D Rajesh, a seafood trader from Ramaypatnam, Prakasam district, said, “I am not aware of the service. Maybe there needs to be more marketing so that we traders come to know about it.”