India has agreed to initiate steps for a possible resumption of imports of apples and pears from China which were suspended in June, 2017 after bugs and fungus were detected in the fruits shipped from the neighbouring country.
“New Delhi has agreed to send a team to China to inspect apples and pears to be sure that they are free of contaminants. Once the team has carried out its inspections, further decision on the matter can be taken,” a government official told BusinessLine.
Commerce Ministry officials had assured Chinese Vice-Minister Zhang Jiwen of General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) and his team, when they visited New Delhi earlier this month, that their demand for resumption of imports of apples and pears would be looked into.
The ban on imports was imposed by India after the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) had issued several warnings to China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) alerting them to the presence of mealy bug and fungus in consignments coming from that country. GACC officials had assured that measures would be taken to ensure that the problem would not recur.
“The NPPO will now send a team to visit the orchards and processing/packaging units to review the phyto-sanitary measures that have been adopted to keep apples and pears free of bugs and other contaminants, ” the official said.
As per industry estimates, import of apples from China in 2016 was about 125,134 tonnes, which were more than half of the total apple imports by India. The ban on Chinese apples also helped demand for local apples stay robust.
India has agreed to examine the demand of resuming imports of apples and pears from China because the neighbouring country softened its position on import of fruits from India. Beijing has recently imported grapes from India and is also negotiating terms for import of other fruits, including pomegranate and bananas.