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EU lifts three-year ban on Indian vegetables, including eggplant, taro
Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Pushkar Oak, Mumbai
The European Union (EU) has lifted the three-year ban on the import of such Indian vegetables as eggplant, taro, bitter and snake gourd. The ban expired in December 2016, and EU has confirmed that it will not continue.

An EU statement said, “The decrease in the number of complaints and sanctions can be taken as an indication that the phytosanitary export certification system of India has improved.”

A senior official from the ministry of commerce, said, “Several departments have played a vital role in making exports more compliant.”

“Several departments under the ministry had been in regular conversation with EU authorities to make exports safer. The ministry, in its circular, has already stated that it will launch a quality control mechanism and regulate its exports using certifications to ensure that exports are safe,” he added.

Tatyasaheb Dagdu Hule, chairman, Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Patoda, Beed, said, “We had a credible share in the exports from the state of Maharashtra for eggplant. The EU ban has moved us to the local and nearby domestic markets, which yields less compared to the exports.”

“Our trade facilitators have informed us that soon the exports to EU will resume. Before the produce is exported, it will be monitored by the government. It will need a certificate, which will be attached to the shipping bills by the government,” he added.

An officer from Export Inspection Council (EIC), Kochi, said, “We have been directed by the government to keep an eye on the exports of fresh fruits and vegetables for the last two years. We have also initiated programmes to educate exporters about new laws and updates regarding the export.”

“We have also asked for phytosanitary certificates, which will be inculcated in the single window interface to facilitate trade (SWIFT) system, which deems the generation of the certificates necessary for exports. Recently, a pilot was initiated in Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. On establishing SWIFT, major issues regarding exports and imports will be addressed naturally,” he added.

“The exports of Indian vegetables to the EU will resume soon after the receipt of official communication from the Centre,” stated the officer.

The EU had imposed a ban on mangoes in 2014 due to concerns over consignments infested with fruitflies. Later, on monitoring the Indian consignments, and following the campaigns held by India's mango sector and EU exporters, the ban on the fruit, which lasted seven months, was lifted in 2015.

Meanwhile, EU will continue to keep an eye on the imports of vegetables from India for a period of six months this year.

In 2013, 386 issues were reported. These decreased gradually as the vegetables were banned by the EU. In 2016, there were only 70 issues.
 
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