India extends crop fumigation exemption until end of June

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (Reuters) – India has extended by six months an exemption to its policy for crop cargoes to be fumigated with methyl bromide, a gas once widely used as a pesticide but now banned or restricted in most parts of the world, two government officials said.

The country’s plant quarantine authority had earlier said that after Dec. 31 India would only accept cargoes fumigated for pests with methyl bromide at the country of origin, threatening to disrupt supplies of pulses from Canada and wheat from Europe and the Black Sea region.

India is the biggest importer of pulses, protein-rich crops that include peas and lentils.

For the first half of the year India will accept cargoes not fumigated with methyl bromide in the country of origin, said one of the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Methyl bromide has been banned or restricted by many countries because it is considered an ozone-depleting chemical.

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