Organism-free exports of fruits, vegetables

Plan to meet EU quality

09 August 2014 Kazi Zahidul Hasan

The government has moved forward to implement a work plan, under which it will ensure harmful organism-free exports of fruits and vegetables to the European countries, officials said.
The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) is preparing the plan with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture to be finalized by August 15, a high official of MoC official told The New Nation Friday.
He said, the plan would be implemented in line with the requirements of the European Union (EU) that threatened to impose an import ban on Bangladesh's vegetables and fruits
destined to 27 European countries.  
"Once the work plan is implemented, it will ensure exports of vegetables and fruits free from insects, fungi, bacteria and viruses to EU countries," he added.
Recently, the EU has warned Bangladesh that it might impose a ban on vegetable and fruit imports from the country for non-compliance with its 'phytosanitary' requirements. It has also set a deadline of September 30 next for the country to demonstrate major improvement in ensuring harmful organism-free exports to the EU countries to avert the ban.
"After finalisation of the plan, having necessary corrective measures and ensure quality of local produces, it will be submitted to the EU authorities by the first week of September for their appraisal," said the MoC official.
He further said the government has taken the matter seriously and do everything so that our export market in the EU remains unhurt.
"We have already convened a meeting with the vegetable and fruit exporters where they have give necessary instructions regarding compliance on their export consignments," he said.
He also said that the government has also asked all of its concerned agencies to ensure proper inspection and strictly apply phytosanitary export control method while exporting vegetables and fruits to the EU countries.
As part of the working plan, it is going to involve the country's agro-scientists and agricultural extension officers to ensure quality produces at the growers' level. Besides, it will also develop a central packaging house to ensure compliance with the EU requirements, he said.
Earlier, the authorities of EU imposed ban on betel leaf import form Bangladesh following presence of harmful organism 'salmonella'. In the past it had also sent back a number of frozen food consignments to Bangladesh alleging contamination of harmful chemicals.
Insiders said, the scientists of BSTI, BARI, Agriculture University and UK recently examined the betel leaf samples to sure presence of 'salmonella'. But they have failed to detect presence of the harmful organisms.   
Frozen food exporters said, the situation has improved remarkably in view of the active interests taken by both the government and the relevant exporters to comply with the EU requirements.

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