Russia Halts Table Grapes Imports from India over Pest Certification

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Exports of Indian table grapes to Russia and Sri Lanka were stopped midway through the season over stronger pest control requirements from the destination countries, the Indian Express reported.

According to Vilas Shinde, chairman of the Sahyadri Farms, based in the city of Nashik, plant quarantine issues have been raised by both countries, resulting in a total halt in exports.

“Both countries have asked for a declaration of the entire area as pest-free,” was quoted as saying by Indian Express. “Sri Lanka’s requirements have been met and we are waiting for them to revert, however, in the case of Russia, the work is yet to be done.”

The development comes during what is expected to be a record-volume season for Indian table grape exports. The Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) said around 215,000 metric tons (MT) could be exported, compared to the previous record of 198,000 MT in the 2016-17 season.

Last year, Russia imported 27,434.29 tons of the produce from India whereas Sri Lanka imported 2,331.25 tons.

Similarly, a fruit fly fear had halted the export of Indian mangoes a few years ago, causing havoc in the markets. Till date, as many as 550 containers of grapes have left for Russian shores, which Shinde said was at least 60 percent of last year’s volume.

Jagannath Khapre, president of the Grapes Exporters Association, said 35,000 tons of grapes have been exported till date to the UK and Europe.

“Technical issues have halted exports to Russia and Sri Lanka,” he said.