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Plant Health Directorate of CFIA opens doors for Indian fruits and veg
Friday, 29 September, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Prashant Nikale, Mumbai
The Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has given its nod to the import of such fruits and vegetables as pomegranate, mango, banana, custard apple and okra from India, provided the exporters abide by certain terms and conditions that have been laid down.

In view of this development, an advisory was issued recently by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). It stated that CFIA’s Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate had stipulated that exporters needed to just fulfill the general phytosanitary import requirements.

These requirements were applicable as per the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS), which are subject to inspection by CFIA. It is imperative that exporters ensure that fruits and vegetables adhere to packaging, labelling and other requirements pertaining to Canadian import norms.

Grapes, mangoes, banana
Indian fruits exports with Canada are low as we export a small number of products like grapes, mangoes and banana. In Financial Year (FY) 2014-15, India exported 298 metric tonne of fruits which generated Rs 2.46 crore and in FY 2016 – 17 the exports were 357 metric tonne in the form of Rs 3.456 crore revenue.

Dr Sudhanshu, deputy general manager, APEDA, Delhi, explained, “The prospect of the Canadian market is really good. It is just a beginning of exports of these products. We are hoping that we will do good business here as we have potential to handle such a market as we have supplied mangoes to the United States.”

The CFIA has laid down some conditions for the exporters as the origin of the material must be clearly identified on shipping documents and if packed in cereal straw, the import requirement for straw must be met. The product must be free from soil, pests, leaves and plant debris.

He added, “The market is good, but the flow of supply will be according to the interest of the exporters. So as about the revenue, right now, we cannot predict any figure, but it will depend on the response of the buyers from the Canadian market. As far as the market conditions, they are very good, favourable and healthy for Indian exporters.”

Meanwhile, West Bengal is planning to export fruits and vegetables to Europe and the United States. The state has already received a good response from the Middle-Eastern countries, and now it is exploring more markets for the produce.

R K Mondal, deputy general manager, APEDA, Kolkata, informed, “Basically, we export vegetables for the Bengali community, which is settled overseas. Most of them are settled in the Middle-East. We export vegetable like okra, pumpkin, bitter gourd, etc. which are used on a regular basis by Bengalis.”

He added, “There is no proper logistic support for exports in West Bengal. While the only direct flights from the state are to the Gulf countries, no other countries are connected directly to it. If the state gets proper logistic support, it will definitely export more than its current capacity.”

West Bengal is the most premium agri-export zone of India, and leads in vegetable exports from India. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman are among the top 10 importing countries as far as fresh vegetables from India are concerned.

In financial year (FY) 2014-15, India exported 8,35,501 metric ton (MT) of vegetables worth Rs 2,402 crore. In FY 2016-17, the exports increased to 10,02,396 MT worth Rs 2,815 crore.

In the first quarter of FY 2017-18 (i e the period between April and June 2017), the exports were 1,94,137 MT, and generated Rs 562 crore. It indicated the increase in the exports of fresh vegetables.
Mondal said, “West Bengal has doubled the growth of its agricultural produce. The state has the potential to export to more international markets as the yield is high. The current export conditions are good and constantly increasing.”
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