Chinese garlic poses threat to Indian spice trade
Chinese garlic dumped in India via Nepal and Bangladesh has been posing a threat to domestic spice growers and traders. India has already banned the import of garlic from China last year after the spice sourced from that country was found to be infested with diseases. However, reports say that fungus infested garlic is still being smuggled into the country through Nepal and Bangladesh. Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda on Thursday met Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and demanded immediate curb on such practices. China is the largest producer and exporter of garlic with average annual production of around 15 lakh tonnes. Chinese suppliers often route disease-hit yields to India through Bangladesh and Nepal as the product is included in India’s list of duty-free items imported from these countries. “Dumping of Chinese garlic through Nepal and Bangladesh in India at zero duty as well as its illegal smuggling has affected local producers,” Nadda said after meeting the Commerce Minister. Nadda who is also a member of Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh asked Sitharaman to take up the matter with the home ministry as the fungus infested garlic not only poses the threat of health hazards but also has adverse impact on garlic producers in Himachal Pradesh and other parts of the country. “I have also urged Sitharaman to take up the cause of garlic smuggling with the home ministry,” he added. Experts say that the Nepal government has fixed the export quota for domestic garlic at 50,000 tonnes, triggering a steep rise in imports as local production of that country is much lower. Supplies from China are the major sources to meet the garlic demand in Nepal. Earlier, the Himalayan nation used to buy a small quantity of the spice from India as well. With average annual production of more than 10 lakh tonnes, India is also among the world’s top 10 garlic exporters.
July 10, 2015 | 5:56 pm IST.