Agri Business

Piperine content: Indian pepper farmers seek clarity on Vietnam imports

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on July 27, 2020 Published on July 27, 2020

The import of Vietnam pepper for extraction below six per cent oil/piperine content is not permitted by the Centre from 2018

Urge Spices Board to find out whether Vietnam pepper is meeting 6% piperine content curbs

The rise in Vietnam pepper imports has prompted the Indian farming community to reiterate its objection on the lower piperine content in the imported spice. It urged the Spices Board to find out whether the Vietnam pepper is meeting the 6 per cent piperine content restrictions imposed by the DGFT, as recommended by the Board.

The import of Vietnam pepper for extraction below 6 per cent oil/piperine content is not permitted by the Centre from 2018 to protect the interest of Indian farmers.

The Indian Pepper and Spice Traders, Growers, Planters Consortium – Kerala Chapter said in a representation to the government that the Vietnam light berries did not have 6 per cent piperine content. It is alleged that the consignment of Vietnam pepper sent for Spices Board laboratory appears to be changing.

Since Vietnam light berries are available cheap and at almost half the price of tht available in Sri Lanka, the industry prefers the Vietnam pepper for making oil and oleoresins. Sri Lankan pepper is priced at ₹300 per kg while Vietnam produce is available at ₹175 and has double the quantity of extracted waste, Kishore Shamji, coordinator of the Consortium said.

He requested the authorities to hand over the sampling procedure to FSSAI, Kochi which is already conducting such testing for spices imported for domestic usage at the port of entry itself.

Shamji also appealed to the government to clear the apprehensions raised by the farming community which has been affected from marketing its own produce in the domestic market due to the availability of de-oiled spent pepper freely on cash and carry basis.

Main importers

Citing Indian import statistics, KK Vishwanath, Coordinator, Consortium of Black Pepper Growers Association, said that Vietnam pepper imports for extraction between January and June this year touched 6,314 tonnes and the extracting units are the main importers. The produce is offered at half the price and importers can afford to buy double the quantity.

“For anyone to claim that Vietnam does not produce black pepper with 6 per cent piperine is sheer ignorance,” said Rajiv Palicha, chairman, All-India Spices Exporters Forum. Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia and India produce various species ranging from 4-10 per cent. It is critical to know when to buy and from where to buy. It is a highly selective process and one that is mastered over decades of experience in agriculture, and how black pepper corns mature from flowering, he said.

These allegations cast a shadow over the value-added spice industry and the Spices Board. The Indian oil extraction industry is in the forefront and commands nearly 65 per cent of the global industry market share, he added.

AISEF strongly recommends that any import of pepper be done only through authorised and registered companies at Spices Board. On imports by Advance Authorisation Licence holders and EOU, every singly kilo brought in is governed by norms established, is accounted for and audited by DGFT and Spices Board. The time limit for value added re-exports has been reduced from 36 months to a mere four months to ensure even more transparency, he said.

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Published on July 27, 2020
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