Avoid blanket bans on crop harvests, exports

The regular bans on harvesting of some crops ostensibly to discourage export of immature produce have the effect of hurting farmers’s and traders’ earnings.

In the latest such restriction, the Horticultural Crops Directorate has outlawed the harvesting and export of avocados starting tomorrow.

Four months ago, authorities similarly ordered the closure of sugar millers reportedly due to a shortage of raw materials and increased cases of poaching. Instead of imposing sweeping bans, the Agriculture and Food Authority should go for individual companies enticing farmers to harvest immature produce.

They could, for instance, cancel the permits for the rogue exporters.

Alternatively, the authority should strictly monitor export of the crops to ensure compliance with rules and weed out unscrupulous players but allow harvesting to go on for those with ready produce.

This way producers with mature crop will not be left to scout for alternative markets or even suffer losses.

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