Mumbai: India and Canada have both been discussing ways to have a “bilateral organic equivalency”. But even as such talks continue, export of organic products from India to Canada has not stopped, said Lawrence MacAulay, Canadian Agriculture minister.
In an email interaction with The Free Press Journal, the minister said, “While these discussions take place, India can continue to export organic products to Canada, provided they have been certified by certification bodies in India that have been accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or recognised by the United States.”
With a population of approximately 1.3 million Indo-Canadians, there is growing demand in Canada for more Indian agricultural products, added MacAulay. Understanding the challenges faced during trade, he said, “Canada’s import requirements are complex. To keep cross-border trade moving smoothly, it is important for Canada to communicate those requirements clearly so that importers from around the world be aware of them.”
Pulses fumigation is also an important issue that Canadian officials discuss with their Indian counterparts. But with the extension in the waiver of pulses fumigation (use of methyl bromide which can be done in India and does not have to be done in Canada), Canada-India could carry on the trade of the pulses until June 30, 2017. After which, both governments would have to adhere to some kind of agreed regulatory norms. MacAulay stressed, “The strong working relationship and dialogue between regulatory officials in Canada and India through the plant-health technical working group, provides a forum for both sides to address issues of mutual concern.”
Canada is eyeing at exporting products like pulses, grains and oilseeds, canola oil, and animal genetics from Canada, whereas it sees potential in tropical fruits and vegetables import from India. In 2016, Canadian agriculture, agri-food and seafood exports to India were valued at $1.2 billion, more than twice the amount it was in 2012.
During the MacAulay’s visit to India, the Canadian Agro India team signed four MoUs with retail partners in India, Kenya and Pakistan to supply Canadian canola oil, including Jmart and HyperCITY retail and grocery stores. At AAHAR 2017 (International Food and Hospitality Fair), Canadian industry representatives reported qualifying nearly 400 leads and nearly $3.5 million in anticipated sales over the next year.