Plant Quarantine regulatory measures are operative through the ‘Destructive Insects & Pests Act, 1914 (Act 2 of 1914) in the country. The purpose and intent of this Act is to prevent the introduction of any insect, fungus or other pest, which is or may be destructive to crops. The import of agricultural commodities is presently regulated through the Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 the provisions of New Policy on Seed Development, 1988. Further, the significance of Plant Quarantine has increased in view of Globalization and liberalization in International trade of plants and plant material in the wake of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement under WTO. The phytosanitary certification of agricultural commodities being exported is also undertaken as per International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), 1951.
In line with the New Policy on Seed Development, 1988 and the provisions of PQ Order, 2003, the specified planting material for propagation (viz., cuttings, saplings, bud woods, etc.) require growing under Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) for a specified period. The import permit for such planting material is granted based on a certificate from Designated
Inspection Authorities of the concerned jurisdiction stating that the importer possesses the post entry quarantine facility for the imported planting material. Such consignments are released with the intimation to the concerned Inspection Authorities for conducting further PEQ inspections and the final clearance is granted based on the PEQ Inspection Report. The pest risk analysis is mandatory for all the plants/plant material prior to its import into India as per PQ Order, 2003. The risk of exotic pests and diseases is minimized by identifying the potential pests which can get into the country with the specified commodity and seeking export certification for their freedom/pest free area status, etc. from the exporting country. Inspection of agricultural commodities meant for export as per the requirements of importing countries under International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) 1951 of FAO which’s now replaced by revised text of IPPC as per the model certificates prescribed under IPPC and issue Phytosanitary Certificate. The export inspections are carried out to facilitate certification of exportable plants and plant material as per the requirement of importing country in line with the above Convention. The export inspections involves sampling and detailed laboratory tests in case of seeds and planting material for propagation whereas visual examination with hand lens and washing tests, etc are carried out for plant material meant for consumption. The export inspections are conducted at exporters’ premises also to facilitate exports for agricultural commodities meant for consumption.
As per Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 a total of 60 entry points including 34 seaports, 12 airports and 14 land custom stations are notified points of entry for import of plants and plant material. Besides, 60 Inland Container Depot/Container Freight Station, 11 Foreign Post Offices have also been notified for the entry of plants/plant material under the PQ Order, 2003.