Pest Interception in Rice exported from India
Storage Insect pests finding favourable climate viz. hot & humid weather, multiply faster and most of them complete their life cycle within 21 to 25 days in such environment. Rice stacked in Gunny bags needs to be periodically got fumigated so as to kill the insect pests. At the same time, whole godown & adjoining areas should also be got treated as a prophylactic treatment, thereby restricting cross-infestation and delaying the re-infestation. After stack fumigation, the exportable Rice should be run through the Sorter machine and immediately thereafter packed in the PP Bags for export. Whereas, most of the Rice exporters get the consignment fumigated only after stuffing the Polypropylene (PP) Bags in the container which has no effect on the insects thriving alongwith the commodity as the penetration of the fumigant in PP bags or non-wooven bags is meager. This fumigation of containers only serves the purpose of:-
- Disinfestations of the container and outer packing of Rice consignment.
- Fumigation Certificate which is one of the requirement of the Importing Country.
The phytosanitary requirement varies from country to country and may change anytime. Some of them have also specified the residue limits and check the ppm level on opening the container at port of discharge. Hence, Shippers are bound to hold the containers till the exposure period is over and the gas is properly and completely aired out. Any remains of the fumigant in the container removed. It is also empasized that Exporters should ascertain the current requirement of the importing country and communicate to the CHA and the Treatment Provider.
Two fumigants are mostly used; Methyl bromide (MBr) and Aluminium phosphide tablets releasing Phosphine gas. These fumigants, when used in the air-tight enclosures, kill the insect pests present in rice cargo at that point of time. Once the gas is aired out, there is no residual effect left in the consignment to take care for future. It is anytime vulnerable to attack by the insect pest again.
In the above backdrop, it is of paramount importance, that fumigation of Rice in gunny bags properly stacked should be undertaken periodically vis-à-vis within 21 days before export as well. The fumigator should be made responsible if live insects are found soon after the de-gassing. De-gassing completely airs out the fumigant and the consignment is again prone to infestation. Subsequently, the fumigated rice should run through the Sorter machine and directly go for final packing. These consignments should be stored in secluded pest-free area till their stuffing in containers.
OF LATE, IT HAS BEEN OBSERVED THAT MOST OF THE IMPORTING COUNTRIES ARE LEEPING TOWARDS DEPLOYING STRINGENT PHYTOSANITARY MEASURES ON PORT OF DISCHARGE AND SOME OF THEM EVEN RE-EXPORT CONSIGNMENTS WHEREIN THEY INTERCEPT INSECT PESTS AND SOMETIMES IMPOSE TEMPORARY BAN. THIS HAMPERS OUR EXPORTS.
It will not be out of place to mention that some of the countries like USA, China, Russia, etc. had imposed temporary ban in the past due to insect interceptions and now lifted the ban after negotiations putting following restrictions:
- Rice could only be exported from the Registered Rice Mills.
- Fumigation dose of Methyl bromide rose to 80 gm per cubic metre from 32 gm per cubic metre.
Exporters have to bear the extra cost, thereby reducing their margin of profit.
RICE TRADERS SHOULD PROCURE RICE FROM SUCH RICE MILLS WHICH ABIDE BY “GOOD STORAGE PRACTICES” AND IT IS THEIR MORAL DUTY TO EXPORT PEST-FREE CONSIGNMENTS AND HELP IN BOOSTING OUR EXPORTS. INSECTS LIKE KHAPRA BEETLES AND WEEVILS ARE OF PLANT QUARANTINE IMPORTANCE TO MOST OF THE COUNTRIES. ESPECIALLY DURING HOT & HUMID ENVIRONMENT, THERE ARE VERY MANY POSSIBILITIES OF INTERCEPTION OF LIVE INSECTS AT PORT OF DISCHARGE, DUE TO CONGENIAL WEATHER.