There are many potential risks from plant quarantine for cashew kernel exports

VCN - Mr. Bach Khanh Nhut, Standing Vice President of the Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS) shared about issues related to plant quarantine that are causing difficulties for cashew businesses.
"Potential risks" of smuggling cashew nuts
Smuggling cases decrease sharply but still have potential risks Smuggling cases decrease sharply but still have potential risks
There are many potential risks from plant quarantine for cashew kernel exports
Processing cashew nuts for export. Illustration

Sir, recently the cashew industry has proposed to the Plant Protection Department - Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the issue of relaxing quarantine regulations. Could you please share more about this?

Recently, VINACAS has received a lot of feedback from businesses about the state control of the Plant Protection Department on exported cashew kernels and imported raw cashews. Accordingly, businesses face many obstacles in implementing plant protection policies, that is, exported and imported goods must be witnessed, supervised, sampled and confirmed to meet the requirements of the Food Protection Department. In terms of State policy, businesses fully support it, but the obstacle lies in the limited human resources of the Plant Protection Department, so many times these units do not have enough human resources to take samples and collect samples to confirm for export and import shipments. Meanwhile, without certification from the Plant Protection Department, the shipment cannot be cleared for export or import, leading to a great disruption in the flow of goods.

According to feedback from businesses, VINACAS organized a workshop and invited representatives of the Plant Protection Department to attend. There, the Deputy Director of the Plant Protection Department and representatives of the Plant Quarantine Branch Region 2 in Ho Chi Minh City answered problems for businesses. After the conference, there were also some more positive improvements.

Specifically, the Plant Protection Department increased the number of people, but it was really impossible to handle too much. Because the human resources of the Plant Protection Department are civil servants on the State payroll, recruitment cannot be done immediately but can only be increased from branches in the provinces. However, the strengthening and support is only partial, the association records many complaints from businesses.

Regarding the issues that businesses complain about, has it caused any damage, sir?

Speaking of damage, there are many potential risks. First, waiting takes time. A business sends an employee to the port to receive and release export goods but may have to wait all day without a person from the Plant Protection Department arriving. Thus, on that work day, this employee cannot do anything and even has to wait until the next day to do a part of the job that previously only took one to two hours to complete.

Second, due to plant quarantine delays, that shipment may miss the train and have to take the next one, affecting its reputation with foreign partners. In addition, there are also costs incurred when container trucks come to pick up goods but have not yet taken samples so they have to wait, incurring costs for businesses.

However, these problems all stem from a lack of human resources, belonging to the State's staffing structure, so we really cannot blame the Plant Quarantine Branch Region 2 or the Plant Protection Department.

As is customary in the last months of the year, the amount of imported and exported goods will increase. Will these difficulties become more serious, sir?

By the end of the year, the amount of exported goods will definitely increase, because in fact, businesses now have ready orders. Without reform, it will certainly be more difficult for businesses, because more goods will increase backlogs, and may even lead to congestion, which will lead to a number of risks. Specifically, each order is registered on a certain train with a specific and clear schedule. But if the goods miss the trip and have to take the next train, the whole process will be affected. Therefore, businesses may have to pay fines to foreign partners.

Representatives of the Binh Phuoc Cashew Association recently proposed removing the plant quarantine process for exported cashew kernels. The reason is that all exported cashew kernel shipments are currently inspected for quality by independent inspection units, so having to take plant quarantine samples again is unnecessary and increases human difficulties. What is your opinion on this?

Currently, in all cashew kernel export contracts, the buyer represents the contract through an independent inspection unit such as Cafecontrol, Vinacontrol, SGS... Thus, all shipments are inspected by an independent inspection agency inspection, even the inspection process of the independent inspection unit is very careful: sensory inspection, and pre-sampling to analyze all microbiological hazards, including live insects. Inspection units also directly supervise the process of loading goods into containers, and opening packages for surprise inspection to control live insects... While plant quarantine representatives only come to take immediate samples and bring them to their office. Therefore, I agree with the opinion of the Binh Phuoc Association.

Thank you very much!

By Nguyen Hien/Quynh Lan

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