Lifting of Saudi Arabia's import ban great news for Indian exports
The presence of insecticide residue in vegetables two years ago led to a ban on Indian vegetables like okra and green chillies to Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia.
Efforts by the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) and other government agenc
es had resulted in the lifting of the ban last week by Saudi Arabia. Milind Akre, managing director of the MSAMB, said the lifting of the ban would lead to the opening of other Middle Eastern markets.
“The standards followed by the oil rich country are one of the highest in the region. As Saudi Arabia has lifted the ban, we hope other Middle Eastern countries will also lift their bans. The market in the region has good potential,” he said.
During the financial year of 2014-2015, India exported 8,35,501 metric tonnes of fresh vegetables worth Rs 24 billion. Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries constitute at least 80 percent of the export market of which at least 60 percent is from Maharashtra.
In order to prevent the recurrence of the same complaint, Akre said the state government along with Agricultural and Process Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) has developed a traceability mechanism called hortinet.
Like the well-established grapenet and anarnet, this software platform allows for testing and certification of vegetables for export. Till date, at least 4,000 farmers in the state have been registered on it.
“Exporters are required to procure vegetables for export from such farmers only. Any deviation from this would be strictly dealt with,” he said. ■