Image Source: DNA
Aug 8, 2018
Tightening food safety regulations overseas has forced the rice millers to offer cash incentives to Basmati growers so that they make them reject the use of pesticides. The millers are promising the farmers with Rs. 500 more per quintal of paddy for not using pesticides and fungicides that do not confirm to latest global specifications, and also for limiting dosages of others. The incentive is expected to double for farmers in Jammu as harvest period draws closer.
Europe’s stringent norms on pesticide residue levels and Saudi Arabia will hit exports of basmati if farmers fail to conform. As per a recent circular issued to exporters by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SAUDA), the pesticide residue levels have been restricted by 90 per cent.
Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has advised rice exporters not to send high quantities of rice shipments to Saudi Arabia this week. The Gulf nation is warranting certification from exporters about compliance of MRL guidelines on shipments. In fact there is possibility of shipments getting cancelled till the matter is resolved with the Saudi authorities.
Export of rice is already depressed to Europe and the US due to stringent residue norms and a hurdle in export to Saudi Arabia will affect basmati exports hard. The new norms from Saudi Arabia have come as a surprise as no timeframe has been extended for implementation.”
Rice millers are seeking deals with farmers in Jammu where use of pesticides is low. “The production of rice is around 2 lakh tonnes in the district, but export demand for Europe and Saudi Arabia is over 1 million tonnes, As a matter of fact where pesticide usage is less, millers are promising higher procurement price in advance.
With the export season set to start by October, exporters are seeking clarity over the new specifications, as most are unsure about how strictly the norms will be implemented.