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India Raises India's Basmati Rice Export Related Issues to EU

Sugandh Bhatnagar
Sugandh Bhatnagar
India's Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar

Highlights: 

Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar had a virtual meeting with European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojeciechowski over the cut in Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) fixed for Tricyclazole, affecting Indian Basmati Rice exports. 

The topics discussed in the meeting included: EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and the recent India Market reforms;  EU farm-to- fork strategy and UN food system summit & bilateral cooperation; G20 Agriculture Minister’s meetings. 

Tricyclazole is a systemic fungicide that is used to control the Rice Blast disease, which can affect the crop at various stages. There are strict import norms imposed by the European Union on the levels of residue of this fungicide present in rice crop. 

The European Union had cut the maximum residue limit for Tricyclazole, from 1 PPM to 0.01 PPM. This had put the exporters of India’s aromatic and long grained basmati rice in a tough and challenging situation.The main idea behind fixing MRLs for various fungicides is make food safe for consumers by keeping residues as low as possible.  

Along with discussion on EU’s common agriculture policy and recent market reforms undertaken in India, Tomar also raised the issue of fixing the MRL of Tricyclazole used in rice crop. However, the commissioner said that such issues not under his mandate but he assured the Indian minister that he would raise the issues with his colleagues in the European commission. 

In an official statement, Tomar said that all the required studies and documents have been submitted to the EU in May 2021 and the MRL will be fixed by the second quarter of 2022, before the next season. 

How to limit the residue issue of Tricyclazole in Rice crop? 

It is advisable to use only those pesticides that are recommended by state agriculture universities. 

All key players in the Basmati Rice value chain need to work together with farmers for ensuring good agricultural practices and exporters have to create a backward- linkage programme especially with farmers to ensure that traces of pesticides are eliminated in the production process itself. 

Chemical shops must display the list of banned chemicals so that farmers make informed choices. Minimum or judicious use of pesticides would improve and expand export potential of only basmati rice, But also of all other agricultural products. 

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