Indonesia has suspended the import of agricultural products from India after the Indian government failed to register its food safety laboratories and issue a certificate of analysis (COA), causing concern among cereal exporters. ‘If we have to call back our cargo, the ban could be disastrous,’ a South Indian exporter said.
From March 25, the order is null and void
In an order to the head of its Agricultural Quarantine Centre, the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture stated that its permission to laboratories for testing the safety of fresh food from India and issuing the COA has been revoked as of March 25 this year.
COAs issued by laboratories indicating that clear exports of fresh food of plant origin were approved in 2019 will not be valid, according to the Ministry, but certificates issued on or before March 24 will be valid.
According to M Madan Prakash, President of the Agri Commodities Exporters Association, ‘Indonesia has suspended permission to about 15 agencies that issue COAs for Indian agricultural exports.’
Indonesian exporters have been notified of the order. The news comes after Indonesia issued a notice to exporters requiring them to provide additional information to the COA.
Jakarta has been contacted about the problem
‘The notification was issued by Indonesia three to four months ago. While countries like Vietnam and Thailand were able to register their laboratories issuing COAs well ahead of time, Indian authorities were unable to meet the deadline. The registration application should be submitted through diplomatic channels. However, the embassy in Jakarta failed to register on time, according to the exporter.
As a result, many shipments bound for Indonesian ports are now at risk of being halted or delayed. He added, ‘Even our consignments are on their way.’ Finally, the Indian authorities submitted the application on March 31, but there is a stalemate because it was submitted after the March 25 deadline.
Official sources told Press release that the issue of Indian laboratories’ registration being extended as well as the clearance of shipments that had been tested by them before the deadline had been raised with the Indonesian authorities through the Indian embassy.
‘The matter is being pursued (in Jakarta) and is expected to be resolved soon,’ said a source who did not want to be identified. Because Indonesia imports sugar, wheat, rice, maize, chilli, groundnut, and onion from India, exporters are concerned about the current situation.
Last season, Indonesia accounted for nearly 30% of India’s sugar exports, which ended on September 30, 2021. The trend is expected to continue this year, as Indian prices have remained competitive, despite the logistical advantage.
During the April-January fiscal year 2021-22, Indonesia accounted for nearly half of India’s groundnut exports. According to data from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Jakarta imported 2.20 lakh tonnes (lt) of groundnut shipped out by New Delhi in the first ten months of the previous fiscal year, compared to total shipments of 4.41 lt.
During the April-January fiscal year 2021-22, Indonesia accounted for 6% of India’s wheat exports. It bought 3.64 litres out of the 60.2 litres shipped out during the time period. In terms of rice, Jakarta purchased 2.07 lt from India, accounting for 2% of the total 13.9 million tonnes exported by New Delhi between April 2021 and January 2022.