February 13, Thimphu: The Hon’ble Agriculture Secretary, Dasho Tenzin Dhendup graced the opening of the stakeholder’s consultative meeting for import of food and agricultural products from India held at Terma Linka Resort.
The meeting was organised to sensitise the import requirements for food and agricultural products from India. The stakeholders discussed on the existing regulations and procedures specifically relating to imports from India. With the help of experts from the Export Inspection Council (EIC) of India, the gathering was also familiarised on export regulations of India and internationally harmonised systems.
Addressing the meeting, Dasho stated that the international food trade is ever increasing with increase in human traffic. He added thus ‘sub-standard products emerge in the markets intentionally or unintentionally’ thereby emphasising the requirement of quality and safety control measures to protect the consumers.
Dasho also highlighted a memorandum of understanding between BAFRA and EIC where by EIC of India has committed to assist BAFRA by certifying the food and agricultural exports to Bhutan through inspection and testing whenever required.
The Director General of BAFRA, Mr. Karma Dorji in his welcome address stated that BAFRA have been trying their best with the stakeholders to implement import regulations for food and agricultural products from India. He also added that this practice may not be adequate for the intended purpose so he stated that the stakeholder’s consultative meeting was an opportunity to reinforce and give better shape to the import system of Bhutan by educating, validating and adopting the best practices possible. Correspondingly, it is seen as a milestone towards regulators and business operator’s partnership in effort to promoting fair trade practices and consumer’s satisfaction.
EIC has agreed to certify food and agricultural exports to Bhutan right from the source. With such collaboration, it is expected that it will ease the export procedures to Bhutan and also reduce import hassles. Shri Parmod Siwach, the Assistant Director of EIC shared that they intend to ‘meet the importing country’s requirement’ and added that they would work in a coordinated manner to ensure a safe food to every consumers.
The meeting was organised by BAFRA in collaboration with EIC of India. Also present at the meeting were officials from Bhutan Standards Bureau, Department of Trade, Bhutanese importers and their counterparts in India along with BAFRA and EIC officials.
Reported by Tashi Yangzom and photo by Tandin Norbu, ICS
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