Agri Business

Rice exporters ask PM to intervene to protect Basmati exports to EU

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018

Vijay Setia, President, AIREA, and CMD, Chaman Lal Setia Exports, with Gurnam Arora, Jt. Managing Director, Kohinoor Foods Ltd, addressing a press conference in New Delhil on Wednesday. -- Kamal Narang

BL09_AGRI_BASMATI_1451750g

Want EU to postpone lowering of tolerance for fungicide tricyclazole

Rice exporters have sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in convincing the European Union to postpone by two years its decision to bring down the tolerance level for fungicide tricyclazole used by Basmati farmers to 'near-zero’ levels.

“A virtual ban is being imposed by the EU on the widely used fungicide in India by reducing the import tolerance level a 100-fold from 1 ppm (parts per million) to 0.01 ppm. The move, which is to come into effect from January 1, 2018, will adversely impact the current kharif crop. We want the EU to give us at least two years more to settle the matter,” pointed out Vijay Setia, President, All India Rice Exporters' Association (AIREA).

A delegation of officials led by the Commerce Ministry is visiting Brussels on July 12 to talk to counterparts in the EU asking for more time. Rice exporters believe that direct intervention by the PM could increase their chances of getting a sympathetic hearing.

In its letter to the PM seeking intervention, AIREA has argued that a delay in implementing the move will not harm anybody as there is no scientific evidence of the harmful effects of this fungicide on human health.

In the US the tolerance level for the fungicide is 3 ppm, while in Japan it is 10 ppm. “We have been exporting rice to the EU for the last 20 years. We also consume it in the country and export it to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the US. There have been no health issues connected with the fungicide so far,” pointed out Gurnam Arora, Kohinoor Foods.

Tricyclazole is a fungicide developed by US-based Dow Agri Sciences used to combat a disease called blast affecting paddy crop. Under Indian agro-climatic conditions, it is the most farmer-friendly and cost effective solution to protect the rice crop from blast, exporters say.

The EU has asked Dow Sciences to provide additional information on some safety parameters which it can do only by early 2019, AIREA pointed out. If the EU is satisfied, it could let the existing tolerance level to continue.

Meanwhile, AIREA has also started conducting workshops to educate farmers on the EU decision and to teach them good agriculture practices so at to minimise residue.

Published on July 05, 2017

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