Pakistan may restart Ethiopian bean imports

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A green light from Pakistani Ministry of National Food Security and Research is highly anticipated to recommence the export of beans that was banned last year due to safety issues.
The beans which were banned by the Pakistani controlling body are red kidney beans, pinto beans, red speckled beans and other similar bean types.
For the past 19 months the red beans, which are one of the major export products in the pulses category, were banned by Pakistan regulatory body due to a concern over a ‘serious, destructive and virulent quarantine disease’, widely known as ‘Fusarium Chlamydosporum’.
It has affected the Ethiopia exporters business and the hard currency generation expected from Pakistan.
A few weeks ago a delegation from Pakistan made up of experts in quarantine analysis paid a visit to Ethiopia to evaluate the country’s pest risk analysis scheme to recommence the trading, according to Gebrekidan Asresahegn, Director of Plant Health and Product Quality Control Directorate at Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources (MoALR).
“They have visited our quarantine facilities in addition to meeting with top Pakistani and Ethiopian officials,” Gebrekidan added.
“Now we are waiting for an official confirmation letter from the relevant body in Pakistan like they promised, since they are delighted by our safety procedures and rules,” he added.
However exporters in Ethiopia are not happy with the confirmation delay. They claim that the relevant government body was forced to push to get the confirmation.
Some of the exporters who declined to be mentioned stated that they are already in the process of shipping the product for clients in Pakistan and other people have also bought a huge amount of red kidney beans for export, but they are stranded.
On October 30, 2018 the Department of Plant Protection at Ministry of National Food Security and Research of Pakistan wrote a letter to Pakistani importer that the Ethiopian Ministry and Oil seeds and Pulses Associations copied. The letter mentioned the beans and advised Pakistani importers not to open a letter of credit (LC) with their banks for import of the stated commodities from Ethiopia to avoid any financial loss as the import permits have been issued mistakenly by the department.
The letter was signed by Dr. Mukammad Basit, Deputy Director for Plant Protection Advisor and Director General at the Pakistani department. It added that the pest risk analysis with the National Plant Protection Organization of Ethiopia is under process and has not been finalized so far to import the commodities.
Plant Health and Product Quality Control Directorate, which is a legal body to give a quality accreditation for export commodities, Director of Ethiopia has accepted that some of the exporters in Ethiopia are asking his office to know the latest development. But he argued that his organization should get confirmation from its counterpart in Pakistan to give a permit to import Ethiopia’s beans. “They have promised to send a confirmation letter within few periods and we are still waiting for the response. But at the same time we are also communicating with the embassy here to accelerate the process,” Gebrekidan said: “we are eager to get the permit since export is the priority otherwise for the delay it is not our fault,” he said denying the claim from exporters here. He added that the exporters association has information on the matter.
However exporters said that since the Ethiopian beans are banned by Pakistan Kenya is using the advantage. They claimed that Kenya exported Ethiopian kidney beans transported via Moyale, a border town between Ethiopia and Kenya, as it is Kenya origin. “They are earning up to USD 300 per ton from the product they got from Ethiopia,” a private consultant on the oil seeds and pulses exports told Capital. “It shows how the matter affects our earnings and benefits others,” he added. He said that the government body has to insist on getting the go ahead from the counterpart.
Beans are part of the Pakistani diet and others in the region, mostly used to make a traditional cuisine, known as Rajma.