Agri Business

Indonesia suspends agri imports from India

Subramani Ra Mancombu | | Updated on: Apr 06, 2022
Indonesia accounted for nearly 30 per cent of sugar exports from India last season

Indonesia accounted for nearly 30 per cent of sugar exports from India last season | Photo Credit: AMIT DAVE

New Delhi fails to register food safety labs on time; Indian officials say issue will be resolved shortly

Indonesia has suspended the import of agricultural produce from India as authorities in New Delhi have failed to register laboratories that test food safety and issue a certificate of analysis (COA), triggering concern among exporters of cereals.

“The ban can prove to be a disaster if we have to call back our cargo,” said a South-India based exporter.

Order null and void from March 25

The Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, in an order to the head of its Agricultural Quarantine Centre, said its permission to accredited laboratories for testing the safety of fresh food from India and issuing the COA stands cancelled from March 25 this year. 

The Ministry said COAs issued by laboratories that clear exports of fresh food of plant origin had been approved in 2019 would not be valid, though certificates issued on or before March 24 will be valid.

“We have been told that Indonesia has suspended permission to about 15 agencies that issue COAs for Indian agricultural exports,” said M Madan Prakash, President, Agri Commodities Exporters Association. 

Indonesia has circulated its order among Indian exporters. The development comes on the heels of Indonesia issuing a notice to exporters to provide some additional information to the COA. 

Issue taken up with Jakarta

“Indonesia had issued the notification 3-4 months ago. While countries such as Vietnam and Thailand got their laboratories issuing COAs registered well in advance, Indian authorities failed to meet the deadline. The application for registration should be done through diplomatic channels. But embassy authorities in Jakarta failed to register on time,” the exporter said.

Many shipments on their way to Indonesian ports now face the threat of being stopped or held up as a result. “Even our consignments are on the way,” he said. Finally, the Indian authorities submitted the application on March 31 but a stalemate exists since it was well past the deadline of March 25. 

When contacted, official sources said the issue of extension of registration of Indian laboratories along with the clearance of the shipments which have got tested by them before the deadline expired has been taken up with the Indonesian authorities through the Indian embassy. 

“The matter is being pursued (at Jakarta) and likely to be resolved shortly,” said an official, who did not wish to be identified. 

Indonesia share in Indian exports

Exporters are concerned over the current status since Indonesia is importing sugar, wheat, rice, maize, chilli, groundnut and onion from India. Indonesia has accounted for nearly 30 per cent of sugar exports from India last season which ended on September 30, 2021. This year, too, the trend is continuing as Indian prices have been competitive besides the logistical advantage. 

During the April-January period of 2021-22 fiscal, Indonesia has accounted for nearly 50 per cent of groundnut exports from India. Jakarta imported 2.20 lakh tonnes (lt) of groundnut shipped out by New Delhi against total shipments of 4.41 lt in the first 10 months of the last fiscal, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) data show. 

Indonesia accounted for six per cent of wheat exports from India during April-January of 2021-22 fiscal. It purchased 3.64 lt of the 60.2 lt shipped out during the period. As regards rice, Jakarta bought 2.07 lt of rice from India, which made up 2 per cent of the total 13.9 million tonnes exported by New Delhi during April 2021-January 2

Published on April 06, 2022
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