Improving Safety and Quality

of the Sri Lankan fruits and vegetables

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tomate-3ccouleurSaudi authorities have decided to impose temporary ban on import of pepper from India with effect from May 30, Parliament was informed on Wednesday. According to reports, presence of high levels of pesticides in the Indian consignment was the reason to put the import restriction in place. “Saudi authorities have decided to impose a temporary ban on the import of all types of pepper from India with effect from May 30,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

According to the Indian Spices Board, chilli peppers are one of India’s largest foreign currency earners, and between April and November 2013 a quantity of 181,500 tonnes of chilli peppers worth $3 million were exported. She also said that due to incidence of pest infestation in some consignments of potatoes imported from India, the Russian authorities have warned imposition of restrictions. “The Russian authorities have warned imposition of emergency phytosanitary (related with plants) measures - introduction of temporary restriction on imports of all spectrums of products of high phytosanitary risk from India to Russia,” she said. India has exported 9,826 MT potatoes in 2013-14 to Russia. It was 916 MT in 2012-13. She said that Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has issued separate advisories to exporters of vegetables to Saudi Arabia and to exporters of potatoes to Russia asking them to follow quality norms specified by importing nations.

Source: www.omantribune.com

gmoProducers, traders, and consumers of organic food in Makati City yesterday held a protest rally against the field testing of genetically modified (GM) eggplants and other vegetables in the country, saying that GM vegetables can harm human health. Mara Pardo de Tavera of Consumer Rights for Sale Food (CRSF) said their opposition is against the field testing of GM eggplant and other vegetables which, she said, has “dire effects on human health and possible effects on the ecological balance of the country.” “We are worried that the introduction of GM eggplants in the country could severely affect the health of humans, especially infants and small children,” said Tavera. She was joined by traders of organic food in Legaspi Park Organic Market, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Citing the Bacillus thuringenesis (Bt) eggplant, Tavera said the bacteria introduced into the gene of an eggplant has been observed to produce a dangerous toxin which harms human health. She said field trials are being pushed by several agencies, including the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna. Last July 11, Tavera, organic food producers, traders, and consumers filed a petition to the Supreme Court asking the High Court to intervene to stop the field trials of Bt eggplant. Tavera said GM products proliferating in the market have no labels. “We are already consuming them without us knowing. We should join hands not to allow GM foods into our diet.” She also urged the public to join their protest to petition the Aquino administration not to support the field testing of GM vegetables. “We are raising this public alarm over the issue because we are very much concerned with the ill-effects of genetically-modified plants in the health of our people, especially farmers who will be asked to field test these crops,” Tavera said. Source: www.mb.com.ph

pic1Russia will ban fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a government meeting on Thursday. "There is nothing good in sanctions and it wasn't an easy decision to take, but we had to do it," Medvedev said. The ban is valid from Aug. 7 and will last for one year, he said. Medvedev also said that the country was considering a ban of transit flights for European and US Airlines to the Asia-Pacific region.

Medvedev said western sanctions were a “dead-end track”, but Russia has been forced to respond to the measures taken by the western countries. Alcohol imports from both the EU and the US will not be restricted. “We are actually speaking of an embargo on imports of whole categories of products from countries which have introduced sanctions against Russian organizations and individuals,” Medvedev said. Medvedev believes the year-long embargo Russia is imposing will boost domestic agriculture. “We are only lagging behind in production of certain varieties of meat and milk. We have to catch up and our farmers are ready to do so, especially if we help them.” Medvedev also said he sincerely hoped "our partners’ economic pragmatism will prevail over bad political decisions, and they will think before trying to frighten Russia and impose restrictions on it. And mutual trade and economic partnership will be restored in the volumes which existed before.

We would have liked that to happen.” Dmitry Medvedev instructed the Federal Customs Service (FCS) to see that the banned imports could not cross the Russian border. The Russian PM has also warned against possible attempts to use the situation to drive up prices. "I would like to warn that attempts to gain from price speculation in this situation will be roughly stopped," Medvedev said. Source: Reuters, RT.com

ff5The government is planning to launch a special program to address the growing concerns over excessive use of pesticides in vegetables and fruits. The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) is preparing to launch a separate program to tackle the problem as the budget for the fiscal year 2014/15 couldn´t include the issue. “Haphazard use of pesticides and other agro-chemicals in fruits, vegetables and other food items is a serious concern and major contemporary issue, as well,” Tek Prasad Luitel, deputy spokesperson of MoAD told Republica, adding “We will soon launch a separate program in a bid to address the problem as the budget did not include this issue.” Luitel informed that the new program would primarily focus on establishment of pesticide residue testing laboratories across different vegetables and fruits markets and collection centers across the country as soon as possible, and conduct massive awareness campaigns among farmers and traders. Source: myrepublica.com

ghananaThe European Union has put a temporary ban on exports of vegetables from Ghana to their region. The ban was put in place after EU authorities identified some vegetables from Ghana that did not meet their quality standards. This is not the first time Ghanaian farmers and exporters have had to face this setback having failed to meet certain benchmarks. Some months ago, mangoes from Ghana were banned because of fly infestation. Ghana faced another sanction last year, when the EU noted that fish supposedly from Ghana did not really come from Ghanaian territorial waters. Reacting to the latest news, Agric Minister, Fiifi Kwetey said the Ministry is putting measures in place to address the issues. “As a country, we will from time to time have some of these concerns. I don’t think it is the first time we have had those concerns. We are clearly going to take them on board in order to ensure that if we are going to have sustainable exports, we cannot afford to compromise on quality,” he assured. According to him, “some of the quality we are talking about is not something at the Ministerial level. It has to do with production; that is taking place down in the farms. We will give support to them in terms of equipment to ensure that those minimum standards are kept.”

mangoesInternational Mango Festival takes place every July in India and gathers mango plantation owners together. This is the last in the series of holidays dedicated to the “King of all Fruit” in India, and is organized by Tourism and Transport Corporation in Talkatora stadium in Delhi. The best fruit from all around India is to be brought here. Festival visitors can taste different varieties of mango, and take part in various competitions, children shows, quizzes, fruit-eating contests. New varieties are exhibited here; mango producers compete with each other. Tarik Mustafa, a mango breeder, has surprised everyone this year with a new variety of mango that weighs 1 kilo. In his interview he says – Yesterday, this variety was with no name, but now it has one – I called it Hindi-Russi after Russia. May this fruit become another symbol of friendship between our countries. It is to be reminded that a popular old saying “Hindi Russi Bhai Bhai” means “Indians and Russians are brothers”. Publication date: 7/29/2014