Dec 27, Colombo: A team of technical experts from Russia is expected to visit Sri Lanka in late January-early February 2018 for familiarization with the current plant quarantine procedure in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Moscow said in a release.
The decision was reached during a meeting between a nine-member Sri Lankan delegation and the Russian officials held on 25th December in Moscow on lifting the temporary ban imposed by Russia on Sri Lankan tea imports.
A nine member Sri Lankan technical delegation led by the Chairman of Sri Lanka Tea Board, including the Director General of the Department of Agriculture joined with the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation, had a fruitful discussion with the Head of the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), Deputy Head of Rosselkhoznadzor in charge of phytosanitary matters, and other officials of Rosselkhoznadzor on Monday.
This meeting was also represented by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture; representatives of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economic Development and RusTeaCoffee Association of Russia. (Russian Tea and Coffee Association).
During the discussion, the Russian side indicated that they were satisfied with the measures proposed by the Sri Lankan side to ensure the shipping of pest-free plant products consignments to Russia.
Sri Lanka side indicated that there are no records found since 1978 of this identified pest and this is a probable contamination due to the use of disinfested container. However, the Sri Lanka side assured that it would take stringent measures to further strengthen the current phytosanitary procedures to avoid any repetition.
Understanding the concerns of the Sri Lankan side and the way forward, the Russian side indicated that it has made the decision to lift the temporary restrictions earlier imposed on the imports of plant origin products from Sri Lanka before 30 December 2017. The letter addressed to the President of the Russian Federation by the President of Sri Lanka in this regard made a great impact on the positive resolution of the situation.
The timely interaction of Ministry of Plantation Industries, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka Tea Board, Sri Lanka Tea Research Board, and the National Plant Quarantine Service was highly effective in the earliest lifting of the temporary restriction.
On a general note, the average time in reconsidering such restrictions on imports imposed by the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance is up to 3-4 months or more; however, in this case, it took only one week for Russian side to lift its restriction thanks to fast and fruitful coordination and interaction of the relevant parties.
The Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation and the Embassy of Sri Lanka are pleased to witness the positive conclusion of the issue in the shortest possible time period.