India’s basmati exports to the European Union could be significantly hit if the bloc implements a proposal to bring down the tolerance level for Tricyclazole, a chemical used in India to treat paddy for fungus.
Pusa Basmati developed in Punjab and Haryana in the last 3 years has become the first choice of Europeans. The tapered shape of this grain, its quality to increase 3 times its length at the time of cooking, its taste and smell has indeed made it the first choice of Europeans. But now Indians can lose some of these exports to the European Countries. The Europeans Union has considered reducing the minimum residual limit of Tricyclazole, controlling the fungus to less from 1ppm to 0.01 ppm, which is to be implemented from January 1, 2018 and if these changes with lowered limits of Tricyclazole go ahead than India will not be able to come to terms with this and thus India’s export of basmati exports of up to 4 lakh metric tonnes can be affected and which will directly benefit Pakistan.
Pusa basmati seed, developed by Punjab University and which has become the first choice of farmers due to its finest variety is now a huge test for farmers, who use Tricyclazole for the prevention of the disease. Usually paddy cultivation of newly developed basmati varieties becomes prone to diseases / fungus during cultivation and due to excessive sprinkling of the drug Tricyclazole by the farmers, the rational level increases to 0.80ppm. However, it is not considered harmful by the US up to 3.00 pmm and it is not considered harmful by Japan even up to 10 ppm. Currently European Union is importing rice up to 1ppm and the decision of EU to bring down the minimum levels of Tricyclazole by 99% to 0.01% would not only devoid the people of Europe, the fine taste of Indian Basmati but also affect the export of Indian Basmati by 10% and due to which the export of basmati can fall to 4 lakh tonnes after 1 January 2018.
Mr. Ashish Kathuria, General Secretary of Punjab Basmati Rice Miller Association said that India has increased the export by five times in the last 10 years due to the strength of its Basmati rice. In such a scenario, it is the duty of Indian basmati producers to take care of the purchaser’s choice and make sure that the highest standards are met and that taste of Indian basmati is enjoyed the world over. If the Indian farmers were made aware about this problem in time, the solution would have been found and the demand in EU would also double. It is a misfortune of the Indian farmer that they have not been made aware of this before. Tricyclazole is not the treatment of fungus but the vaccination given before the onset of illness. The farmers can use, if required, Tricyclazole from the start of cultivation of paddy till 70 days with the advice of agricultural scientists but should not use it after the paddy has blossomed, said Mr. Kathuria. “Not only spraying of Tricyclazole till 40 days before harvesting of Paddy, leave the residual impression of the drug on the paddy but Tricyclazole has no effect on the disease. If the farmers of the country take control of the use of Tricyclazole, then the changing parameters of the European Union would also be able to accommodate Indian Basmati varieties,” explained Ashish.
Mr. Kathuria has also written a letter to the Director of Agriculture Department of Punjab and Haryana in this regard and requested them to make available right information to the farmers so that they could reduce their cost by regulating the use of Tricyclazole and help make Indian Basmati adhere to the standards of EU. He also revealed that the use of Tricyclazole in negligible in Pakistan in comparison to India and this can benefit Pakistan.
|Fig in Metric Tonnes||HISTORICAL EXPORT TO EU MEMBER COUNTRIES|
Ashish Kathuria- a Prominent Journalist with high credential!
Professional Qualification: M.B.A. in Information Technology and Finance (Minor) from Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar.
Qualification: Post Graduate Diploma of Mass Communication and Journalism from Panjab University, Chandigarh.
PGDIT from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla.
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