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Potato exporters worry as trucks stopped at border

Customs officials in India stopped trucks carrying potatoes from Bhutan without a plant quarantine certificate (PQC), which has affected business for potato exporters and bidders in Samdrupjongkhar.

Exporters said that they have not been able to export potatoes from the Samdrupjongkhar Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) auction yard for over a week. “It has severely affected our business.”

One of the exporters, Kinga Dhendup Import and Export proprietor Tashi Tenzin, said that it has been about four days since the Indian customs officials stopped his trucks from transporting potatoes because they do not have a PQC reports

“We did not need to obtain a PQC before, because we had a certificate from Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA),” he said.

The exporters and bidders said they have obtained all the documents previously required by Indian customs from the authorities in Bhutan. “But these documents do not carry the weight they did before. Who will go to India and get a PQC?”

Exporters and bidders said that they contacted officials at the Royal Bhutan Consulate in Guwahati, India. However, officials stated that they cannot intervene, as it is an issue related to requirements of the Indian government and not the government of Bhutan.

FCB complex manager, Sawdev Koirala, said the issue started on September 1 because Indian customs officials had warned the bidders that a PQC from India is now required to export potatoes.


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