NEW DELHI: Ahead of the visit of an Indian delegation to the EU to resolve the basmati rice issue, grain exporters body AIREA said tough norms by the European Commission will hit the exports badly as the trade worth over Rs 1,700 crore could shift to Pakistan.
The European Commission has recently brought down in basmati rice the maximum residue limit (MRL) level for Tricyclazole, a fungicide used by farmers against a disease, to 0.01 mg per kg from the next year.
"The EU has virtually imposed ban on import of Indian basmati rice by reducing 100-fold the import tolerance level of 'Tricyclazole'. It is not possible to bring down the pesticide level all of a sudden to nearly zero," AIREA President Vijay Sethia said recently.
The Indian Government team is scheduled to visit Brussels, Belgium, on July 12 to discuss the matter.
Two aromatic basmati rice varieties, PB1 and 1401, are maximum exported to the EU. The shipments of these varieties with Tricyclazole MRL at 0.03 mg per kg were accepted so far from India.
Pakistan exports 'Super' variety of aromatic rice and it does not use Tricyclazole on its crop and is looking at the opportunity to ship more from January 2018.
India, the world's top rice exporter, shipped 3.5 lakh tonnes valuing Rs 1,744 crore of basmati rice to the EU in 2016-17. The country's basmati rice exports to the EU comprise 10 per cent of the total 40 lakh tonnes undertaken annually, as per the industry data.