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Blanket plant quarantine norms may hit red chilli exports

Of late, China has emerged as a significant purchaser of Indian chilli.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 05, 2018, 11.13 AM IST|Original: Dec 05, 2018, 11.13 AM IST
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Chilli is the largest exported spice from India, having clocked earnings of Rs 4,256 crore last year.
KOCHI: Red chilli exports from India will be hit if the plant quarantine certification requirement is extended to all consignments after December 31, said traders.

At present, the certification is required only for chilli exports to Mexico, which detected the presence of beetle in some of the consignments from India over a year ago. But according to Spices Board, the proposal to extend it to all the buying countries has been kept pending till December 31.

Chilli is the largest exported spice from India, having clocked earnings of Rs 4,256 crore last year.

“It will be a big problem if the certification is made mandatory for chilli export to all the countries. The government should limit it to Mexico alone,” said Shailesh Shah, director of Jabs International. If the proposal is implemented, exporters will have to produce a certificate that the chilli is from warehouses registered with the Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage for each consignment. “It can cause much delay and it is quite unnecessary as chilli consignments are accompanied by Spice Board certificate confirming that they do not contain aflatoxin or other chemicals like Sudan Red,” said Prakash Namboodiri, chairman of All India Spices Exporters Forum. Vietnam is currently the largest buyer of Indian chillies, followed by Thailand, USA, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Mexico is not a major buyer. “Mexico used to buy chillies from China but shifted to India when Chinese chillies became costly,” said Namboodiri.

Of late, China has emerged as a significant purchaser of Indian chilli, particularly the high heat variety. Chinese chilli production is mostly confined to low heat ones. Export to China has gone up more than four times to over 9,000 tonnes in the past couple of years.

Chilli exporters suffered a loss last year as prices plunged because of bumper production in India. From a peak of over Rs 5,000 crore in 2016-17, the export value declined 16 per cent last year.
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