India Writes To Nepal For Joint Secretary-level Talks Over Quarantine Issues

India Writes To Nepal For Joint Secretary-level Talks Over Quarantine Issues

Aug. 7, 2019, 8:18 a.m.

The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MAFW) has sought joint secretary-level talks with Nepal over quarantine issues, a source said.

Nepal asked its Customs checkposts to bar vehicles carrying vegetables and fruits if their drivers failed to produce quarantine certificates, after the outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome in districts of Bihar on June 17.

According to a news item published in Down To Earth, Nepal earlier tested pesticide levels once vegetables and fruits crossed over. It, however, decided to seek quarantine certificates after an increase in quarantine failures in India.

The Supreme Court of Nepal stayed the decision on July 10 while hearing a public interest litigation. Following this, its government let in the Indian produce but tested them as a temporary arrangement till any consensus could be reached.

India's MAFW has now written to the Nepal government and sought talks at the joint secretary-level to remove curbs imposed by Nepal in the near future.

“We proposed a certificate from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) for fruits and vegetable,” a senior official told Down To Earth.

“We are taking this route to avoid any such situation in the future,” the official added.

The NABL is a constituent board of the Quality Council of India. NABL has been established with the objective to provide government, trade bodies and the industry with a scheme for third-party assessment of the quality and technical competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

Recently, invasive pest and weed species have spread in India. The Fall Armyworm and Rugose spiralling whitefly have caused enormous food losses, threatening food security and agriculture. Their entry has raised questions about the effecacy of India's quarantine system.

Several studies the world over have emphasised that alien species frequently alter ecology, driving native crops to extinction, destroying terrestrial or aquatic vegetation and polluting the native gene pool through cross breeding.

News and Photo Courtesy: Down To Earth

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