GPC Advocate Extension of Mbr Derogation in Brussels and Need for Alternative Solution for Exporters
By June Arnold Head of Policy, Gafta
Ms June Arnold, Head of Policy, The Grain and Feed Trade Association (Gafta) represented the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) in European Union Commission a few weeks ago with Indian delegation advocating for a solution regarding proposed restriction on use of fumigant Methyl Bromide (MBR). Ms Arnold reports:
Fumigating imported agricultural commodities, including cereals and pulses, with Methyl Bromide (MBR) at Indian ports remains uncertain as we wait for the Indian government's decision to see if an extension to the current derogation will be granted at the end of June.
Gafta and Global Pulses Confederation were invited to present the industry perspective during the EU Indian Plant Health Technical Working Group in Brussels on 17th May 2017.
June Arnold, represented Gafta and GPC and presented the current situation, export trends, impact and uncertainty for the trade in the short term and reminded Mr. Ashwani Kumar, Joint Secretary (Plant Protection), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, on the need for an extension of the current derogation beyond the 30th June to allow exports to continue to India and to find a more longer term solution using phosphine at point of export.
Dr Mueck representing Detia Degesch presented the technical case for the use of Phosphine illustrating large scale application since the 1930s, with data on global usage of Phosphine on cereals and pulses, and its worldwide use in over 150 countries on all continents. He went on to explain how the efficacy data proved the reliability of phosphine with registrations based on efficacy data provided for all types of treatment (commodities, empty spaces, ships..etc).
Phosphine has been considered to be one of the most viable alternative to MBR during the Montreal Protocol phase out process.
For the specific purpose of treating infested commodities in big volumes, there is no effective and economically sound alternative. The negative side effects of MBR which has been subject to a worldwide ban because of its negative impact on the stratospheric ozone layer and its potential as an occupational carcinogen were outlined. The technical case has been made in many different forum including the EU.
The Indian delegation mentioned that the government was continuing its assessment on phosphine as an alternative and an interim report was awaited.
On the more short term issue, we are feeling rather hopeful that a positive solution will be taken to extend the current derogation at the end of the month, but it is clear it will be a decision taken at the highest political level.