IPGA expects extension for MBR fumigation of pulses

Kolkata, (IANS) The India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) is expecting the Centre to permit “a three month” extension after March 31 to continue fumigation of imported shipments of pulses and lentils at ports with methyl bromide, an official said.

The fumigant is banned in many countries for its adverse impact on the ozone layer.

“Worldwide, the usage of Methyl Bromide (MBR) for fumigation is not allowed. We believe a three month extension will be given by the central government for fumigation of shipments of pulses,” IPGA chairman Pravin Dongre said here on Sunday.

“A study is going on to find out an alternative to MBR. Hopefully we will have an alternative in the three month period,” he added.

The plant quarantine department had earlier said they would not extend any relaxation to non-compliance of methyl bromide fumigation for agri-commodities with effect from April 1, 2017.

According to the association, subject of compliance of MBR fumigation on imported pulses pose the risk of blocking adequate imports of pulses into the country.

The department argued that the current permission was actually an exemption from the requirement that shipments should be fumigated before arriving at Indian ports.

Allowing MBR fumigation at the ports was leading to country’s ozone layer being depleted.

Around 64 countries have banned the use of MBR as it depletes the ozone layer, according to an IPGA paper.

India is likely to harvest over 22 million tones of pulses in the 2016-17 year compared to around 16 million tones last year.

The country requires about 4 million tones of imports of pulses this year.

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