EU may ban Indian groundnut imports due to aflatoxin

Source of Article:

Vimukt Dave / Rajkot May 12, 2009, 1:42 IST

EU accounts for 15 per cent of India’s groundnut exports.

Groundnut exporters may find it difficult to make it to European Union (EU) markets. Indian Oilseeds and Produce Export Promotional Council (IOPEPC), earlier known as Indian Oilseeds & Produce Exporters Association (IOPEA), has sounded a red alert to groundnut exporters that EU may ban groundnut imports from India on account of presence of aflatoxin (a kind of fungi).

During an awareness programme on quality upgradation of exportable groundnut at Rajkot, the apex body of oilseed exporters called for a need to generate quality products in India.

“Our future may turn bleak if we fail to fix aflatoxin problem and if we do not maintain the quality of international standard. We must generate quality product not only for India but also for international market.

Indian processors have not taken up technical upgradation and changes in machineries to produce export quality groundnut for a long time,” said Sanjay Shah, chairman, IOPEPC.

“European delegation is scheduled to visit India this September for examining the processes used by export units. If they do not find any changes in the units, they will not hesitate to ban groundnut import from India. Processors know everything about cleanliness and quality norms but they do not follow it,” said D Thara, MD, Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation.

“Changes should be made at APMC level and all the process units and farmers, who supply raw materials, should be registered,” she suggested. “India exports 250,000-275,000 tonnes of groundnuts, mostly from Gujarat. EU constitutes less than 15 per cent of the total groundnut exports from India. If we fail to match EU standard then we should be ready to face ban. Not only that, taking cue from EU, other importing countries might also do the same thing,” said Sanjay Shah.

The European commission will visit India in September to inspect quality standard and compliance of the groundnut processing for human consumption and bird food. Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) intends to introduce a new procedure to insure compliance to European quality standards.

The industry needs to be optimistic to introduce and adapt to new system and implement changes as required under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). This is the last opportunity for the industry to gear up.


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