Saudi Arabia, the fifth largest importer of fresh vegetables from India, has banned the import of green chillis because of the presence of high pesticide residues.
The country’s agriculture ministry imposed a ban on the import of green chillis after issuing an advisory to India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) that high levels of pesticides were found in some shipments of the commodity.
“It has been brought to the attention of the authorities here that in recent vegetable consignments from India, there have been interceptions of higher than permissible levels of residues of pesticides. If the situation persists, the government of KSA will take action in the near future,” the advisory said.
An official of the agriculture ministry said the ban was imposed after sample testing of Indian shipments showed the presence of high levels of pesticides, Arab News reported.
Surinder Bhagat, second secretary for politics and commerce at the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, said the mission was in touch with Saudi authorities to resolve the issue. “We have been informed about the Saudi ministry of agriculture’s decision to ban chili pepper beginning May 30,” he said.
APEDA has advised Indian exporters to conform to Saudi Arabia’s import requirements.
“As a region, West Asia is very important to us. We, therefore, do not want to face repercussions from Saudi Arabia, or any other country in the region. Hence, we have advised our members to test export-oriented goods carefully before shipping,” an APEDA statement said.
According to the Indian Spices Board, chili peppers are one of India’s largest foreign currency earners, and 181,500 tons of the commodity worth about $3 million were exported during April-November 2013.