Agri Business

Spices exporters welcome move to ban 27 insecticides

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on May 26, 2020

All India Spices Exporters Forum has welcomed the steps taken by the Agriculture Ministry to ban 27 insecticide compounds that pose serious health risk to humans and animals.

“This step will help build trust on Indian spice industry globally and boost spice exports from India. It will also make food safer for domestic consumers,” said Rajiv Palicha, Chairman, All India Spices Exporters Forum.

Rise in exports

Indian spice exports have achieved steady gains in volume and value and the net value of exports has crossed $3 billion. The goal of the industry is to reach $5 billion by 2025. One of the major obstacles faced by the industry over the years is the non-availability of quality raw materials, Palicha said. “Our value-added products have regularly been under scanner and faced the threat of rejection from importing countries because of pesticides and other chemical residues,” he said.

The processing industry and exporters have been managing this risk through backward integration programmes with farmers, adopting villages (for chillies and cumin) and conducting National Sustainable Spice Programmes in conjunction with the Spices Board, he added.

The industry felt that these awareness programmes were not enough to eliminate the use of cheap high-residual pesticides in the market. The produce carrying pesticide residues inevitably reached the domestic market, causing serious public health issues.

Ban implementation

While the government’s ban on 27 insecticide compounds is a welcome step, it is equally important that retail outlets are strictly monitored so that the banned pesticides are made unavailable and a sense of discipline and control is brought about within the farmer community, Palicha said.

“Many of the pesticides listed in the draft Bill are already banned by the European Union. But several on the banned list are still available in India,” Palicha said.

Published on May 26, 2020

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