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Russia and Sri Lanka halt Indian grape imports over pest certificate

Staff Writer | February 26, 2019
Indian grape exporters are in a tight spot in the middle of the grape season now that Russia and Sri Lanka are demanding pest-free area certificates.
Asia   Some 42,458 tons of grapes have been exported
According to exporters, containers from India are lying uncleared for the past couple of weeks in the port of St Petersburg in Russia.

Jagannath Khapre, president of the All India Grape Exporters Association, said plant quarantine issues had been raised by Russia and Sri Lanka, and both the countries had asked for declaration of the entire area as pest-free.

The Association is in touch with the National Research Centre for Grapes, seeking these certificates so that the season is not impacted.

Kailash Bhosale, treasurer, Maharashtra Grape Growers Association, said he along with Khapre and Ashok Gaikwad, president of the Association, were in Delhi last week to seek a solution to this issue.

“The government of Russia has not issued any such notification. But, the containers from India are being stopped by Russia’s customs department, stating that a pest-free area certificate is required.

"We met officials from Apeda (Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority), agriculture department and the quarantine department.

"However, we were told by the officials of the Quarantine Department that a NRC from Pune needs to issue documentation in this regard,” said Bhosale.

According to so far some 42,458 tons of grapes have been exported.

This includes 25,106 tons to the Netherlands, 7,233 tons to Germany, 5,753 tons to UK and 1,171 tons to Denmark.

Exports to Europe and UK were on track, Khapre said.

While Sri Lanka is a minor destination for Indian table grapes, Russia takes good volumes and last year had imported 27,434 tons.