Specifying the efforts of senior officials of Ministry of Agriculture, Union Agriculture Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that the system of inspection and certification of fresh fruits and vegetables destined for the EU market was subjected to a complete overhaul. The phytosanitary inspectors, exporters, pack house operators, etc. were given intensive training by officials of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Senior officials visited pack houses located in all parts of the country to enforce necessary changes in infrastructure and in the procedures adopted for preparation of export consignments. State Governments, APEDA, exporters and perishable cargo handling facilities at international airports provided full support to the initiative lead by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Union Agriculture Minister raised India’s concern over the ban with representatives from Germany, EU, the Netherlands and UK.
All deficiencies pointed out by the EU were removed by August, 2014. An Audit Team of the EU visited India on Government’s invitation in September, 2014. The EU auditors were briefed about the steps taken by India by a team led by Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture. This technical Audit Team spent 10 days in the country to carry out a detailed evaluation of the entire phytosanitary control chain. The audit report submitted by this team has recognized the significant improvements carried out in India in the phytosanitary control system.
India has been exporting various fresh fruits and vegetables, prominent among them being mangoes, to countries of the European Union. In May, 2014 a ban was imposed by the European Commission on imports of mangoes, bitter gourd, egg plant, snake gourd and taro leaves from India on grounds of interceptions of harmful organisms leading to fears on account of biosecurity of the region.
This decision of the European Commission led to adverse impact on farmers and exporters in India. The Ministry of Agriculture therefore initiated purposeful steps to address the concern of farmers.
GG:SB Fruits and vegetables 21.01.2015