Imports of ‘other origin black pepper’ destroying India’s reputation, say exporters

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Published: February 23, 2019 12:24:39 AM

Unchecked and unmonitored imports of low-priced “other origin black pepper” into India were destroying India’s reputation as a high-quality origin and simultaneously damaging the livelihood of farmers, All India Spices Exporters Forum (AISEF) said.

Imports of ‘other origin black pepper’ destroying India’s reputation, say exportersImports of ‘other origin black pepper’ destroying India’s reputation, say exporters

Unchecked and unmonitored imports of low-priced “other origin black pepper” into India were destroying India’s reputation as a high-quality origin and simultaneously damaging the livelihood of farmers, All India Spices Exporters Forum (AISEF) said.

The forum alleged almost 18,000 tonne of the spice from other origins have been imported into India for local distribution.

There are also reports of cross-border smuggling of black pepper through Nepal and Bangladesh. This is supposed to have been sold into the domestic market adversely affecting our farmers and the consumers, Cherian Xavier, vice-chairman, AISEF, said.

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“These domestic importers which import other origin black pepper to sell into the domestic market are not in the purview of any government body or the Spices Board. On the contrary, all exporters are registered under the Spices Board of India,” he said.

AISEF said it was imperative and mandatory for all importers to be registered under the Spices Board to put an end to such malpractices from these unregistered importers.

These imports can then be formally and legally regulated so that it is declared, quality checked and not sold in the domestic market.

“It is critical that the MIP (minimum import price of `500 per kg) is strictly monitored by way of verification of outward foreign currency though a self-declaration by such importers which are certified by a chartered accountant. Under the present system, there are loopholes where the commercial invoice can be of `500 per kg whereas the actual price paid may be lower, leading to the misuse of the price safeguard resulting in forex violations,” Xavier added.

Jakarta-based International Pepper Community (IPC) projects the total world pepper production in 2019 at 494,200 tonne as against 523,400 tonne in 2018.

Indian pepper production is projected to decline in 2019 to 47,000 tonnes from 64,000 tonne in 2018.

Domestic consumption for 2019 is about 58,000 tonne with imports at 17,700 tonne and exports projected at 17,000 tonne.

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