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India, Viet Nam to tackle weevil problem

Update: February, 11/2012 - 11:22

Xuan Huong

HCM CITY — India and Viet Nam will jointly tackle the problem of weevil contamination of animal feed imported from India after more consignments are found to contain the destructive beetle in the last few months.

This was agreed at a meeting between officials and industry representatives from the two sides held in HCM City on Thursday.

Nguyen Van Nga, head of Zone 2 Plant Quarantine Inspection Department, said since the middle of December two consignments of 7,645 tonnes of feed imported from India through HCM City ports had to be returned because they contained the beetle, an invasive and dangerous species for Viet Nam.

Earlier last year around 23,000 tonnes had failed to meet quarantine requirements and also had to be returned, he said.

Following repeated non-compliance by the India side, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development wrote last December to the Indian Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, warning that Viet Nam could apply more stringent measures like import bans on some agricultural products from that country until the weevil risk was addressed.

Nga said that under Vietnamese regulations, if a consignment was found to contain live weevils, it had to be re-exported. In case of other insects and dead weevils, it had to be fumigated before entry into the country, he said.

Dr JPSingh, deputy director of the National Plant Quarantine Station, said India had revised its National Standard for Phytosanitary Measures with relation to methyl bromide fumigation.

It had taken tough action, including suspension of nine fumigation agencies for fumigation failure, he said.

Sarvesh Rai, director of the Plant Protection Department under the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, who led the Indian delegation, arrived in Viet Nam last Sunday to discuss the problem.

On Wednesday his department signed an agreement with the Vietnamese side for co-operation in inspecting consignments, issuing plant quarantine certificates, and others.

The visiting delegation inspected maize consignments from India that have been detained in Hai Phong and HCM City's Cat Lai ports because of the presence of insects and documentation issues.

The Indian side promised to fulfil all of Viet Nam's requirements.

Abhay Thakur, the Indian consul in HCM City, said Vietnamese firms should work with the consulate general or business groupings like the Solvent Extractors' Association of India to find reliable business partners who would fully comply with Vietnamese regulations.

Import of animal feed from India reached US$529 million last year, an increase of 28 per cent over 2010, he said.

The figure was expected to be lower this year due to the problems, he added. — VNS

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