Australian malt barley may hit Indian market this year

Australian malt barley could enter Indian market this year after New Delhi removed a phytosanitary requirement of treating the grain with methyle bromide that acted as a roadblock to its sales into the country, reports PTI from Melbourne, Australia. India has changed a requirement of treating the grain with methyl bromide which reportedly reduced the grain seed viability making malt barley useless.

The new changes will mean barley can be fumigated with phosphine in accordance with Australian standards. “We have been in talks with one business who has said they have negotiations in place to sell 60,000 tonnes of malt barley to India, contingent on the right protocols being in place,” Grain Producers Australia (GPA) chairman Andrew Weidemann said.

Weidemann said the immediate market would be for malt barley, but it could further lead to other products like feed barley. “The Indian feed industry is probably still relatively small but with the scope of growth in all sectors there you would expect it to grow,” he added.

“They will be very stringent on weed seeds and have concerns about wild radish and Italian ryegrass. It is something that can be managed through the supply chain, however, it may initially mean that exports come out of regions that do not have big problems with these weeds,” Russell said.

Western Australia and South Australia are the major two export states for barley. However, Western Australia, which has regions with heavy infestations of wild radish may have more trouble initially assuring a radish-free product.

India has previously bought malt barley from countries like Canada and Argentina. Canada does not have the issues with grain storage pests like Australia as the grain is stored in cold conditions which means treatments are not required.

Last October, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare Joint secretary Atish Chandra visited Australia for the India-Australia Plant Health Technical Bilateral Meeting 2019 along with other quarantine and state officials. According to GIMAF, the visiting officials were shown Australia’s pest surveillance and export management systems from farm to port.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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