Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday impressed upon his Italian counterpart Maurizio Martina the need for a mutually-acceptable solution on the issue of pesticide residue limit as fixed by the EU, which is already impacting India’s export of grapes and rice. The issue was raised at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Italy for cooperation in agriculture as well as phytosanitary issues. The MoU replaces the one signed in 2008.
In the meeting, an official statement quoting Singh said, “India’s export of grapes and rice (are) suffering on account of arbitrary maximum residue levels (MRL) (of pesticides) set by the European Commission.”
The minister suggested that a “mutually acceptable solution can be found to this issue as these limits were set by the EU without any scientific assessment being shared with India”.
On bilateral cooperation, Singh said there is potential for both the countries to work in areas such as agriculture machinery, training, investment, institutional linkages, precision farming, cattle breeding and fisheries.
The MoU provides for cooperation to reduce phytosanitary — relating to the health of plants — risks in exported goods by defining specific joint procedures. It would also promote and strengthen cooperation between research institutes of the two countries.
Earlier on Wednesday, Singh also met newly-appointed President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Gilbert F Houngbo.