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New MRLs lower than EU levels
India: Grape exporter warns of new MRLs for Chinese marketIn the last two years India's grape exports to China have doubled. In the 2014/15 season, Indian exporters sent 484 tonnes into China and 1,141 tonnes to Hong Kong, this increased to 1123 tonnes (China) and 2095 tonnes (Hong Kong) in the 2016/17 season. Volumes for the coming season are expected to increase again. This is great news for exports as China is known to be a lucrative market, but there could be difficulties ahead for uninformed exporters.
According to one exporter, India signed a SPS protocol with China for grapes about 7 years back. There was no mention of MRLs in that protocol therefore Indian grape export to China has been going without any checking for chemical residues.
"Previously the grapes were going unchecked, so we are not aware if any MRLs existed and what the change is. The point is we will have to comply with the new ones," explained Anirudha Deshmukh from Mahadhan Farm Technologies. "Indian exporters are not sure how the new guidelines will be interpreted by the Chinese authorities so we all are taking extra care to avoid any non compliance. Indian growers will definitely need agronomic advice to grow residue compliant grapes therefore exporters providing this kind of support to the growers will definitely have an upper hand."
In March this year the USDA published a GAIN report on the new MRLs and a couple of weeks ago APEDA issued a statement on the subject.These new regulations came into force in June this year.
The EU is the biggest export market for the Indian grape exporters and they are used to growing grapes to comply with the EU standards, but some of the Chinese MLRs are much lower than those imposed in Europe. The most noticeable ones are here below.
Click here for a full list of MRL comparisons
"Recommended practices for the EU consider that the grape crop will be harvested from 135 days onwards. In the case of China the grapes are harvested from 110 days onwards. These grapes are also grown in a comparatively cooler climate from Aug to December. Therefore degradation of pesticides could be slower than on the grapes grown from October to March," according to Mr Deshmukh .
"Exporters are alerting all the growers and advising them as best they can. Last year a few exporters had sampled these grapes before sending and there were not many problems. However this will be a testing season for all the stakeholders," said the exporter.
"Considering Indian growers' success in complying with increasingly stringent European MRL requirements we are confident that export season 2017 - 18 to China will be challenging but successful," concludes Mr Deshmukh.
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