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EU rules against SA citrus ban, imposes stricter import criteria

Author: Paul Vecchiatto

Thousands of jobs were saved last week when the EU, SA’s most lucrative market for its multibillion-rand fruit exporting industry, decided against banning its oranges. A BDlive report notes that last week the EU’s standing committee on plant health decided not to ban SA’s oranges and other fruits after an outbreak of a fungal infection called citrus black spot last year. The disease leaves unsightly black spots on the skins of oranges, but is not harmful to humans. However, the EU has decided to impose stricter conditions on the import of SA fruit and should these not be met a full ban could be implemented. Citrus Growers Association CEO Justin Chadwick said the decision brought certainty to the industry. Chadwick is quoted in the report as saying: ‘Ominously however, the decision does leave room for additional measures to be imposed after five interceptions. While onerous, the fruit-testing requirements, both in the orchard and packhouse, are within our industry capacities.’ DA Agriculture spokesperson Annette Steyn said last year she had urged former Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to prioritise animal disease and pest-control measures, the report states.

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