India lowers safety demands for onion imports

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare of India decided to reduce the requirements on the fumigation and phyto-sanitary certificate for onion exports from Cambodia to India until Dec 15.

The fumigation is the action or process of disinfecting or purifying an area with the fumes of certain chemicals to the crops.

A statement from the Ministry of Commerce addressed to producers and exporters said if onion exports entered Indian ports without having enough compliance on fumigation and phyto-sanitary certificates, the Indian side will ask the importers or owners of the products (onion) to do the fumigation in India with a certified company.

Those products will be carefully checked by the experts and will be allowed to enter India if the products (onions) are safe and free from bacteria, viruses and insects.

The statement read the India government will also reduce the requirements on the additional  phyto-sanitary certificate. It added if exported onions contained the disease of Smut-Urocystis cepulae or Dry rot-Embellisia Allii, those products will be sent back to the country of origin.

“If it is found that the goods are contaminated by the disease of the stem and bulbs nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci) or onion maggot (Hylemia antiqua), those onions will be sterilised through fumigation and those products will be released without an additional charge for the inspection,” the statement read.

Penn Sovicheat, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said that Cambodia has exported a very small amount of onions, shallots, garlic, leeks and other alliaceous vegetables. The biggest export targets are South Korea and Japan.

He added Cambodia exported around nine tonnes to Japan and 217 kilogrammes to South Korea of onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, and other alliaceous vegetables from 2010 to 2020.

“There is no need to apply for a certificate of origin for these crops [onions]. Transit goods or sample goods in low quantities do not need it,” Sovicheat said.

Ker Monthivuth, director of the plant protection, sanitary and phyto-sanitary department of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that Cambodia does not produce onions for big commercial purposes. It produces them mainly on a small scale for the domestic market.

“The onion and garlic and red garlic are not preferred crops to grow in Cambodian soil,” he added. Monthivuth said he did not see any re-exports for these goods. He said Cambodia mostly imported onions from China for local consumption.

According to statistic from the Ministry of Commerce, onions in local markets sell for around 3,800 riels per kilogramme, garlic is around 6,900 riels a kilogramme and red garlic is 5,400 riels per kilogramme.

Source: Khmer Times

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