AIREA seeks PM Modi's intervention on EU ban of Indian rice import

| Updated: Jul 06, 2017 00:30 IST

New Delhi [India], July 5 (ANI): Citing the case of Pakistan taking over the European Market in the export of Basmati rice to the European Union after its virtual ban on the import of Indian rice, the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention in the matter. Owing to reducing the alleged harmful effects of Tricyclazole, a fungicide used extensively in rice cultivation, the EU decided to lower the import tolerance level, thus imposing a virtual ban on the import of Indian rice. "Out of the 40 lakh metric tonnes of Basmati rice exported from India every year, amounting to Rs. 22, 000 crore of foreign exchange, 3.5 lakh metric tonnes of rice is exported to the EU countries alone. Out of a total production of 10 lakh tonnes of Pusa Basmati that is procured out of 20 lakh tonnes of paddy farmers, 15-17 lakhs farmers' livelihood and income will be affected. This is an alarming figure, and that is why we have asked for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention," Vijay Setia, President, AIREA told ANI. The AIREA, in their letter written to Prime Minister Modi, pointed out that there is no scientific evidence of the harmful effects of this fungicide on human health. A number of other countries like U.S.A., Canada and Japan have placed no such restriction on use of Tricyclazole. The AIREA has also started conducting workshops to educate farmers on EU decision and to impart knowledge of good agriculture practices so as to minimise residue. "The EU has enforced a new regulation, whereby minimum residue level will be reduced by 100 times. Total export is around Rs. 8,000 crores; if no relief is given, we will incur a loss of this amount. We have requested to deliberate on this, since we will not be able to comply immediately. Farmers need time to change their cultivation pattern, for which they need to be educated. Instead of January 2018, we would request the Government to suggest the EU to begin the new norm from January 2020," said Jean Philippe Laborde, MD, Ebro India. Tricyclazole is a fungicide developed by Dow Agri Sciences, widely used to combat a disease known as blast affecting the paddy crop. Under the Indian agro-climatic conditions, Tricyclazole is the most farmer-friendly and cost effective solution to protect the rice crop from blast. It has been used all across the world for over 30 years with not a single health related incident anywhere. The EU had asked Dow Sciences, USA, the original developer of this molecule, to provide additional information on safety aspects of Tricyclazole. While Dow Sciences stated that the required information would be provided by early 2019, the EU decided to to lower Tricyclazole import tolerance level from January 1, 2018 itself.(ANI)