Pesticides killing India’s agro exports

Punjab’s loss is Jammu & Kashmir’s gain. Exporters are preferring basmati of J&K because its farmers do not use pesticides and fungicides, and hence their produce commands premium, says Bhuwan Bhaskar

The soothing aroma of basmati has turned foul for thousands of farmers in Punjab. Recently, beginning of this week, the worst feared news for the exporters and farmers of the commodity came from Saudi Arabia that some containers of basmati rice having been exported primarily from Punjab, were rejected due to the presence of tricyclazole above the permissible limit.

In fact, it was just a predictable outcome after the Saudi Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) emulated the fungicide levels as per European Union standards, with traces of tricyclazole permitted not more than 0.01 mg in a kilogram of rice. Since January, Norway, Sweden, England and Finland have already rejected at least 30 containers of basmati.