Plant Quarantine

(Note: This content is specially created for India)


Plant quarantine is defined as the legal enforcement of the measures, aimed to prevent pests from spreading or to prevent them from multiplying further in case they have already gained entry and have established in new restricted areas. The term quarantine may refer to the quarantine station itself, or to the process of testing and purifying the plant materials.

Aim of plant quarantine:

  1. The main aim of plant quarantine is to prevent the entry of exotic pests into the area where it is not present.
  2. To facilitate safe global trade in agriculture by assisting the producers and exporters by providing a technically competent and reliable phytosanitary certificate system to meet the requirements of trading partners.

Stages of plant quarantine:

  • 1. Domestic quarantine:
    • It works within a country to restrict the transport of infected agricultural materials across the states.
    • Some of the infected material which are prohibited to transport to the states of India are: Banana bunchy top virus (Assam, W.B. and Kerala), Potato cyst nematodes (Nilgiris district of TN), Apple scab (JK and HP).
  • 2. International quarantine:
    • It is legal restriction on plant and plant related products between one country to another country to ensure pest and diseases free materials.
  • 3. Embargo:
    • It is the official ban of import from a country.
    • It acts when pest risk is very high and the country importing does not have adequate safeguard.

Types of plant quarantine regulation:

  • 1. Embargo/complete prohibition: When the pest risk is very high and the safeguards available in the country are not adequate, import is prohibited.
  • 2. Post-entry quarantine: The risk is very high but adequate safeguards in the form of post-entry isolation facilities are available. A 40 days quarantine period is in rule for isolating the plant materials.
  • 3. Restricted: Pest risk is not high and import permit is required to stipulate conditions for entry, inspection and treatment.
  • 4. Unrestricted: Material may enter without restriction.

Major activities of Plant Quarantine:

  1. Inspection of imported agricultural commodities for preventing the introduction of exotic pests and diseases unfriendly to Indian Fauna and Flora.
  2. Inspection of agricultural commodities meant for export as per the requirements of importing countries under International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) 1951.
  3. Detection of exotic pests and diseases already introduced for containing/controlling them by adopting domestic quarantine regulations.

Inspection procedure followed in quarantine station:

  • Visual inspection: To detect sclerotia, nematode galls, bunt galls, smuts, insect infestations, weed seeds, insect eggs, inert matter etc.
  • X-ray test: Insect infestation.
  • Washing test: Spores of fungus, eggs of insect adhering to seeds.
  • Incubation test: Seed borne fungi/ bacteria (Blotter/agar test).
  • Grow out test: Seed borne bacteria/viruses/downy mildews.
  • Electron microscopy: For identification and characterization of all plant viruses.
  • Serological methods: ELISA, DIBA, ISEM, Agglutination test.
  • Nucleic acid hybridization: Polymerized Chain Reaction (PCR).

Procedure of import/export through Plant Quarantine:

Plant quarantine
Procedure of import/export through Plant Quarantine (Image source:

Stakeholders of Plant Quarantine:

  1. Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage, Faridabad.
  2. National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), New Delhi.
  3. Various Crop-specific Research Institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
  4. Head of Plant Pathology Division of State Agricultural Universities (SAU).
  5. State Agricultural and Horticultural Departments.

Plant quarantine stations in India:

  • National Plant Quarantine Station (NPQS), Rangpuri, New Delhi.
    • 4 Regional Plant Quarantine Stations (Amritsar, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai).
    • 75 Notified points of entry at various:
      • Seaports (42): Bhawnagar, Kandla, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, etc.
      • Airports (19): Amritsar, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc.
      • Land frontiers (14): Hussainwala, Kalimpong, Bangaon, Attari-Wagha, etc.
    • 65 Inland Container Depots.
    • 11 Foreign Post Offices.

Plant quarantine-related laws:

  1. 1914 - DIP Act: Destructive Insects and Pests Act.
  2. 1951 - UP Locust Destruction Act - by UP Govt.
  3. 1954 - UP Agricultural Disease and Pest Bill by UP Govt.
  4. 1961 - Plant introduction Division established in IARI.
  5. 2003 - Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order.

Disease controlled by Plant Quarantine:

  1. Bunchy Top of Banana – Kerala
  2. Mosaic of Banana – Kerala
  3. Apple Scab – H. P.
  4. Wart of Potato - W. B.

Content first created on 11-06-2023
last updated on 11-06-2023