Taskforce formed to study problems in ginger exportsThe government on Tuesday formed a taskforce to examine why ginger exports to India have been held up as worried traders pressured the authorities for a speedy resolution of problems citing the perishable nature of their product.
The government on Tuesday formed a taskforce to examine why ginger exports to India have been held up as worried traders pressured the authorities for a speedy resolution of problems citing the perishable nature of their product.
Shipments of the spice have been halted for the last one week after India barred entry due to the presence of pesticide residues.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD), the seven-member taskforce led by Under-Secretary Pradhumna Pandey is mandated to prepare a detailed report of the problems encountered in ginger exports and make appropriate recommendations for their resolution.
The other members are representatives from the Commerce Ministry, Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, Quarantine Office, Agro Enterprise Centre under the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Nepal Ginger Producers and Traders Association (NGPTA).
MoAD Spokesperson Yogendra Kumar Karki said they decided to form the panel after a multilateral meeting held at the ministry on Tuesday.
Ginger exporters have been complaining that they have been unable to export their products to India for the last one week. Narendra Kumar Khadka, president of the NGPTA, accused the southern neighbour of unilaterally imposing a ban on Nepali ginger.
Khadka said the Indian authorities had barred entry through almost all Nepal-India border points. According to him, 250,000 tonnes of ginger are stuck with farmers following the Indian ban.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is reported to have asked Indian customs offices to bar the entry of Nepali ginger. The authority is said to have taken the step after Nepali ginger was found to be contaminated with the pesticide Aldicarb. Indian officials have also expressed discontent that Chinese ginger was being mixed with domestic products and exported under Nepali brands.
Khadka admitted the use of Chinese ginger for export. “A number of traders have been found to be involved in this malpractice,” he said, adding that the pesticide Aldicarb had not been applied to ginger grown in the country.
The Indian Embassy in Nepal also said the southern neighbour imposed the restrictions on Nepali ginger just to control the imports of the spice originating in China via Nepal, as India has given preferential treatment only to the ginger produced in Nepal.
Ruby Jaspreet Sharma, spokesperson for the embassy, said the Indian government imposed the ban on Chinese ginger as a protection measure to safeguard its farmers. “In addition, the products imported from China have been found to have contained a large quantity of pesticides,” she said.
Meanwhile, the MoAD on Tuesday directed the FNCCI to issue a certificate of origin to Nepali ginger only with its recommendation. The FNCCI has been issuing the certificate to exporters of local agro products.
Karki said they had issued a circular to quarantine offices directing them to carry out sanitary and phyto-sanitary tests of agro products intended for export. “If anyone is found guilty of issuing fake certificates of origin, they will be booked,” he said.
Ginger is grown on more than 23,826 hectares across the country. As per MoAD statistics, the country produced 242,546 tonnes of ginger in the last fiscal year, 60 percent of which was exported.
Globally, Nepal is the third largest ginger producer after China and India. India is the main export market for Nepali ginger. Almost 94 percent of the shipments to India consist of fresh ginger and the rest are processed ginger.
According to Nepal Ginger Profile 2016, which was produced jointly by the UK Aid-funded Samarth-Nepal Market Development Programme and the NGPTA, the ginger grown in Nepal is high in oil and oleoresin, and it can be sold to large industrial buyers in India and other countries if output is increased and quality is ensured.