India is certainly considered one among the biggest manufacturers of some agriculture commodities and
the agrarian culture in India and its various local climatic conditions have extensively contributed to the global food basket. Indian curries, spices, snacks, and mangoes are recognized for its incredible quality throughout the globe. Globally, the total agriculture commodities export was US$ 17.19 billion between March 2020 and February 2021.
Indian agricultural, horticulture and processed food ingredients are exported to more than 100 countries/regions. Even if the rural exports have seen an upward thrust over a duration of ultimate 6 months, India`s exports to European Union, that's the second biggest export market for India after USA has decline during the last 20 years. The proportion of the European Union in India`s usual exports fell from 18% in 2001 to 14% in 2020, India accounts for 0.9% of total imports of the European Union which reflects the untapped export potential in the market. Indian Agricultural exports account for around 2.5% of the worldwide agriculture exports and agriculture is the livelihood for approximately 58% of India`s population.
What is the reason for the decline in agriculture export?
The number one reason for which India isn't always capable of booming its agricultural exports is the non-tariff measures by EU, in particular, the plant and animal protection measures that's technically referred to as the Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures. The primary reason for which India is not able to increase in the agriculture exports is the non-tariff measures taken by the EU specifically the plant and animal safety measures which is technically known as the Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures. According to RTI filed in 2013, Indian food items export was hard hit by rejections. The reply filed by APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) that between 2008- 2013, 763 notifications were issued by the EU under Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) mostly for rejecting the consignments. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently disclosed that over 76 per cent of the country’s commodities are often rejected by the EU for not meeting required standards
According to research paper of UNIDO which studied about the reasons for rejections of food products in EU and US, the top reasons for rejection of Indian food products in top two markets; In EU region the biggest reason for rejecting a food product from India was Mycotoxins about 20% of total rejections were due to this reasons, mycotoxins which are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of moulds (fungi) which generally grow on dry fruits and cereals. The second reason for rejection about 19.2% of total rejection were due to veterinary drug issues, the other reasons are microbiological contaminants, product composition, heavy metals, pesticide residues and unauthorized food additives.
If we check the data on reasons given by united states for rejecting Indian food products in the US region, the biggest reason with about 31% of total rejections was due to labelling, the second reason for rejection with about 16% of total rejections was unsanitary and other reasons were microbiological contaminants, unauthorized food additives, unregistered process/manufacturer and pesticide residues. If India could overcome this problem Indian Agri exporters have a huge scope to expand their footprint in the world.
What is a solution to this problem –
As an exporter of agricultural products, phytosanitary certificates are important documents that are required for the export of plants and plant products. As an exporter of these products, you must ensure that they meet the export parameters that are set the international standards of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). For example, these items must be free from pests and disease causing infections.
The main reason for the Phytosanitary certificate (PSC) is to extend the protection and assurance of the shipment. In addition, it helps to avoid pests in the shipment and thus preserve the biodiversity of the importing country by complying with Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPS). A phytosanitary certificate is mandatory for customs clearance and export of agricultural raw materials from India. In India, the Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage (PPQS) is responsible for issuing the phytosanitary certificate. To export agricultural products to the US, the company must register with the National Plant Protection Organization.
Here are some helpful guidelines to help you get these certificates in a timely and hassle-free manner.
Article V of the IPPC clearly defines the requirements for CPs and should focus on the following needs:
• Conduct an inspection supervised by officials of the NPPO or PPQS
• Obtain a phytosanitary certificate or equivalent electronic document
In India to facilitate phytosanitary paper presentation process there is a portal created for exporters to present the phytosanitary certificate online, the portal is called Plant Quarantine Information System & (PQIS);. You can access this portal by registering in it and requesting a phytosanitary certificate online by entering the data requested by the website.
You can click the link below and use the manual to understand how to use the portal. https://plantquarantineindia.nic.in/PQISPub/pdffiles/PQISUserManual_NIC.pdf
Visit the website https://plantquarantineindia.nic.in/PQISMain/Default.aspx to request a phytosanitary certificate.
The procedure includes a thorough inspection that includes sampling, laboratory analysis (seeds), prohibition of analyzing plant material, visual analysis, washing tests, etc. Please note that the authorities are conducting the inspection process at the exporter's premises. After this issuance of the pest-free guarantee, PSC can be contacted. Before doing this, it is beneficial to perform specific photo sanitation treatments to attain the sanitary requirement. Further, issue a copy of Import Permit that contains the Photosanitary requirements and treatments.
If an infestation or contamination is found during inspection, treatment of the shipment is recommended. In such cases, the exporter prepares the fumigation of the shipment at PQ's facilities or another suitable location. The exporter pays the fees for the entire fumigation process and the follow-up fees. Fumigation of empty and full containers is mandatory for the export of agricultural products.
After the fumigation process, the shipments undergo another inspection and the phytosanitary certificate is issued once this process is complete.
India can increase its Agricultural exports if all the exporters in this space try to understand why their exports are getting rejected and resolve the problems which are causing hindrance. APEDA should also take steps to spread awareness on why the agricultural products export are getting rejected in various countries and what quality standards exporters need to meet to make their mark on the global front.