Agriculture body makes residue certificates mandatory for grape growers
Residue certificate is a document that establishes the quality of grapes.Updated: Mar 06, 2018 15:51 IST
In view of complaints from grape growers, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) has made it mandatory for exporters to give ‘residue certificates’ to farmers from whom they are buying the produce. Apeda has issued a notification stating the same on Thursday, March 1. Residue certificate is a document that establishes the quality of grapes.
While the Indian grape export season began in November last year, vineyards are still awaiting residue certificates from exporters.Vineyard owners allege that they are incurring huge losses in the absence of residue certificates, an essential document for them to establish the quality of their produce and hence the price, which ultimately helps them with exports to the international market.
The residue certificates are obtained by the exporters who send the produce to laboratories to determine the quality of the product and the presence of chemicals. Only the produce that clears the test - chemicals below the maximum residue level (MRL) - can be exported. Each country has a different acceptable MRL.
According to farmers, the labs listed by Apeda generally conduct residue tests.
Dr Sudhanshu, deputy general manager, Apeda said,“Yes,we have received many complaints from farmers that grape exporters try to cheat them by not sharing the residue results, in absence of which they are unaware of the exact quality of their produce.Today we have discussed the issue with farmers and have assured them that very soon we will release guidelines regarding this.”
Though exports in 2017-18 were nearly one lakh tonnes, indicating an improvement in fruit quality that fetched farmers better rates, grape growers allege exploitation by exporters because of the crop residue certificate being held back.
Jagannath Khapre, president, Grape Exporters Association of India (GEAI), said , “These days, farmers are unaware of residue standards - detection of chemicals found in their crop. It is the responsibility of exporters to issue a copy of the residue certificate to each farmer who has paid for chemical test. Many farmers are uneducated. Hence, exporters try to take the advantage and misguide them, which leads to financial losses.”
“Hence, we are demanding exporters issue residue certificates to farmers to increase transparency in trading,” he said.
Manik Patil, a grape grower in Nashik, said, “It is a necessity to know the residue report to make improvements for next year. By denying us the reports, exporters can easily misguide growers. Exporters generally avoid sharing the reports with farmers to check competition from other exporters.”
Vilas Shinde, president of Sahyadri Farmers Producer Company, Nashik, the firm that accounts for 18% export of grapes from India to European Union, said, “There is no particular reason behind not sharing the residue certificate with growers. If any one needs the residue certificate then we are ready to make it available. Individual grower is free to go with any exporter, we are not forcing anyone.”
Residue test at heart of the matter
- Grape samples are sent to Apeda approved labs by exporter
- Test results are currently being sent to exporter who does not forward the same to the respective farmer
- Costs of lab tests are initially borne by exporters, who then deduct the same from the money owed to the farmer.
- Residue tests are conducted to get clearance on maximum residue level (MRL) levels in the sample
- Only the produce that clears the test — chemical content below the specified MRL — can be exported.
- Each country has a different acceptable MRL.