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Saudi Arabia bans Indian green chilli

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Barred for presence of excess pesticide residue

Saudi Arabia has started enforcing its ban on import of Indian green chilli (green pepper), with the Customs Department preventing the arrival of a six-tonne consignment last week.

The Saudi Agriculture Ministry has decided to ban import of green pepper from India on the grounds that the Indian product contains unacceptable levels of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The ban took effect from last week.

Saudi Arabia, which is the fifth-largest importer of vegetables from India, has increasingly been concerned about the quality of food products it imports.

The country had complained that Indian farmers use high doses of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to speed up growth and increase harvest.

The Saudis had issued an advisory to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), pointing out that high levels of pesticide residues were found in some green chilli consignments from India, and warned that imports will be banned if the contamination continues.

Following the advisory, APEDA had asked chilli exporters to test their products before shipping to make sure that Saudi Arabia’s quality requirements are adhered to.

Last month, the European Union banned the import of the famed Alphonso mangoes and four other vegetables from India on the grounds that some of the commodities were contaminated by fruit pests.

(This article was published on June 2, 2014)
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