Seasame traders gear up to resume exports to Russia
WITH rice exports to Russia taking off once again, Indian exporters are now gearing up to resume exports of sesame seed to that country. Russia has stopped importing Indian sesame since May over a dispute on its quality. Knowing that Russia would not permit Indian sesame seeds without quality certificates, the exporters have shortlisted two Hyderabad-based R&D institutions — Vimta Labs and Vimta Specialities — as certification agencies for this purpose. The two institutions are accredited by the Gosstandart of the Russian federation. Gosstandart is the quality standard followed by the Russian federation. Taking up their cause, Shellac and Forest Products Export Promotion Council (Shefexil), which oversees export promotion of sesame seeds, has requested the commerce ministry to pursue the matter with the Federal Service for Veterinary & Phytosanitary Surveillance (FSVPS), a wing of the agriculture ministry of Russia that monitors quality of imported agriproducts entering Russia, which is due to send a a delegation to India in October. Rice exports to Russia started again from July 20, after a gap of eight months, following a protocol signed recently by FSVPS from the Russian side and the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) from the Indian side. Under the protocol, Russia has selected the New Delhi-based Shriram Institute for Industrial Research as the authorised agency for issuing certifications on safety, quality and phytosanitary aspects of Indian rice which would be despatched to Russia. Sources said FSVPS would be sending a delegation to India in October to take a look at the Indian system of cultivating rice, sesame seeds and groundnut and their processing to resolve disputes arising out of their quality and safety aspects. In fact, FSVPS has requested the Indian commerce ministry to prepare a list of R&D institutions which are competent enough to certify the safety and quality aspects of sesame seeds.