Govt may bow to Canada, extend fumigation exemption for pulses
The government will consider extending the exemption given to traders for fumigating pulses imported from Canada at Indian ports instead of the country of origin.
India has made it mandatory to fumigate imported crops with methyl bromide, a restricted use pesticide, in the country of origin. However, the government has been giving exemption to traders importing pulses from Canada -- the world's largest pulses exporter -- which has banned the use of the fumigant on environmental grounds. The current exemption is valid till March 31, 2017.
"The issue is under active consideration. We may consider continuing exemption (to Canada) after looking into our production and import data," a senior Agriculture Ministry official said.
Trade bodies have made several representation on this issue. A meeting will be held next week to take a final call, the official added.
The official said that the exemption may be continued for only short period as the country is taking steps to protect environment.
India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) Pravin Dongre said, "We have made a representation to the Agriculture Ministry. We are hopeful that further exemption will given." He said that the country needs to import peas and lentils from Canada even as the domestic output of other varieties of pulses is expected to be bumper.
With deadline of exemption nearing, Dongre said the traders have not contracted much quantities from Canada for delivery beyond March.
The country is all set to harvest a record 22.1 million tonnes of pulses in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June) from 16.4 MT last year. India imported nearly 6 MT pulses last fiscal to meet the domestic demand, which is estimated at 23-24 MT annually.
The government imports about 1 million tonnes of pulses for buffer stock. Another 1 million tonnes for buffer stock is being procured from domestic markets.