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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Russia to send experts to test Indian labs for rice import

NEW DELHI: After lifting ban on import of rice from India, Russia will soon send a team of officials to visit Indian laboratories it has shortlisted for issuing safety and quality certificates that need to accompany the grain shipments.

Moscow removed the ban on rice consignments from India with effect from July 20. But the shipments had to be accompanied by Import Quarantine permission, a safety and quality certificate issued by Shri Ram Institute for Industrial Research and Phytosanitary Certificate (SRIIRPC).

While SRIIRPC is the only institution giving these certificates, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has submitted a list of accredited laboratories which can issue safety and quality benchmarks for rice exports from India.

"A Russian team would be visiting India soon to inspect these laboratories to consider the admissibility of safety and quality certificates issued by them," an official said.

According to a Commerce Ministry statement, the Russian Federation allowed rice imports from India after Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath held talks with his counterpart G O Gref in St Petersburg on June 9-10 this year. These parleys were followed by another delegation led by Commerce Secretary G K Pillai early this month.

The two governments signed a Protocol on July 10 in Moscow. Restrictions on import of rice into Russia from various countries, including India, were imposed from May 1 this year on the pretext that exporters were violating the Russian Sanitary-Epidemiological requirements, in particular regarding pesticide residues

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