GoI is actively considering imports of potatoes, areca nut: MoEA Minister

With import restriction lifted for ginger from Bhutan, the Economic Affairs minister states that the Government of India is actively considering imports of potatoes and areca nut.

A May 19 notification from Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry states: “Import of fresh ginger, wholly produced in Bhutan, is Free subject to Article-I of Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan”.

Lyonpo said, for potatoes, the import restrictions will be lifted by June.

Additionally, Lyonpo highlighted that there has been consistent efforts to export the three commodities.

“I have been persistently pursuing on three commodities as these are farmer’s commodities,” said Economic Affairs minister, Loknath Sharma. Adding, “These are small forms of cash crops for the farmers, and the quantity is also not much”.

Restrictions on import of potatoes was revised in India in 2020, however, it was revised and permitted for import partially in 2020 and 2021.

Lyonpo stressed that the government is repeatedly pursuing the issue. Further, Lyonpo said, during Lyonpo’s visit to New Delhi. Lyonpo met the Commerce and Industry Minister of India, Piyush Goyal to discuss the issue of import of agricultural products, particularly the three commodities.

Solving the ginger exports to India, Lyonpo said: “We are working the same for potatoes and areca nut.”

As per Import Policy of India (2017), ginger, potatoes and areca nuts are prohibited. This, the policy outlines export is free for Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) value is Rs 251 per kg, and below the CIF value of Rs 251 per kg is prohibited.

Bhutan used to export potatoes to India at an average of 20,000MT, an average of 3,000MT of gingers, 12,000MT of areca nuts, and 1300MT of apples annually. Bhutan imported 1.96 MT of ginger and 308 Kgs of areca nuts according to the Bhutan Trade Statistic in 2021.

According to Bhutan Trade Statistic (2021), Bhutan exported an average of 20,000MT of potatoes, an average of 12,000MT of areca nuts, and 3,000MT of gingers.

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