There seems no immediate end to India’s export troubles with increasing cases of quality issues being reported by importing countries. On the heels of news about adulteration and high pesticide residue in spice exports, come news of quality issues in groundnut exports from India.
First, let us give brief you on India’s groundnut exports. India exported 536,929 tonnes in 2015-16, a sharp contrast from the 708,386 tonnes worth $760 million in 2013-14. The drop in exports could be attributed to the ban Vietnam placed on groundnut import from India in April 2015. Vietnam is a key export for Indian groundnuts. The country accounted for 26% of groundnut exports from India 2014-15. That is 183,000 tonnes worth Rs 1,251.57 crore. So the ban hit India hard.
Fast forward to 2016, the 9-month ban imposed by Vietnam was revoked. Reason to cheer? No. After Vietnam, Indonesia has now raised concern over the quality of groundnut exports from India. Aflatoxins, a poisonous and cancer-causing chemical produced by certain moulds which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay and grain, was detected.
The country is now subjecting all groundnut consignments from India for testing of aflatoxin and pesticide residues. Only 6 of the 21 laboratories that have registered with India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) have been chosen to run these tests. This resulted in inevitable delays of up to three weeks to get containers certified.
We have sought approval for more laboratories from the Indonesian authorities of the 21 registered with us. We have noticed exporters facing congestion in getting certification for groundnut consignments,” said a senior Apeda official.
“Indonesian authorities have sought additional certification of pesticide residues in consignments, which has raised the cost of certification to Rs 14,000 a container now from Rs 3,000 a container before they made these tests mandatory,” said Sanjay Shah, a Mumbai-based groundnut exporter. Unlike before where only random bags were tested, Indonesian authorities now demand certification of tests of all bags separately.
Indonesia is the second most important market for India, after Vietnam. Data made public by Apeda shows that groundnut export to Indonesia was 173,966 tonnes ($202 mn) in the first 11 months of 2015-16, as compared to 183,355 tonnes ($191 mn) the previous year.