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Basmati exports may rise as US eases pesticide norm

Date 20-December-2014
Subject Basmati exports may rise as US eases pesticide norm

India’s Basmati rice exports to the US are expected to see an increase, with the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) allowing presence of tricyclazole, a common pesticide residue, up to 3 particles per million (ppm).

USEPA had recently put the chemical under import tolerance norms so that rice consignments are allowed to enter the US under strict supervision.

An official with the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) told FE that in the last few years, India’s Basmati rice consignments have been frequently rejected at US ports because of the presence of pesticide residues of chemicals such as tricyclazole, isoprothiolane etc.

“Tricyclazole is a pesticide used by Indian farmers to control sheath and leaf blast. It is not registered in the US and did not have an import tolerance norm,” a Basmati exporter said.

In the absence of registration, the US authorities had rejected the rice consignments, resulting in disruption of shipments from India.

US-based Dow AgroSciences, which is a developer of the molecule and holder of all relevant safety data on the chemical, had in September 2012, at the instance of Indian rice exporters, applied to USEPA to establish an import tolerance level.

A commerce ministry official said the government and industry officials have urged the US authorities to follow a time-bound plan for establishing tolerance levels of other pesticides of concern, instead of taking a case-by-case approach.

With US President Barrack Obama visiting India next year, the ministry and trade officials would take up the issue of pesticides residue with US officials.

According to commerce ministry officials, volume-wise, Indian exports are just above one lakh tonne of Basmati rice annually to the US from total annual shipments of more than 3 million tonne to mostly West Asian countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

But value-wise, realisation from shipments to the US is more than $200 per tonne as compared to exports to other countries.

In 2013-14, India exported 3.7 million tonne of Basmati worth about R30,000 crore.

Of the total exports, 1.4 million tonne of rice was shipped to Iran.

Meanwhile, All India Rice Exporters Association has launched an extensive programme in the Basmati growing areas of Punjab and Haryana to educate farmers on the safe use of pesticides and in accordance with globally recognised good agricultural practices.

Source : financialexpress.com

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