Fruit flies: a barrier to the development of Egyptian citrus exports

The Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) is the main hurdle for Egyptian citrus to expand, especially at the level of exports. The US Agriculture Department said in its report that the Egyptian government is funding a project to tackle fruit flies and reduce the spread of the pest, helping control the quality of fruit for export.

A number of countries importing Egyptian fruit, including Russia and Ukraine, have complained of product damages caused by fruit flies. According to sources at the Central Department of Quarantine, most of the shipments rejected came from Moscow, and the last shipment was rejected in May 2015 with a total of 120 tonnes infected.
Sources pointed out that reducing the fly's presence in outbound shipments requires the use of a cold-treatment systems, but countries reject the infected shipments altogether to prevent the spread of the disease to their agricultural lands.

The report pointed out that citrus is considered the most important export crop during the current period, so the government, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture, aims to improve product quality at both local and international level.
Imad Mahdi, export director of the Al Fayrouz Company for the Export of Agricultural Crops, said that improving quality will help maintain the current demand for the crop and ensure that it will increase at a good pace in the coming years.

As recently reported, in October 2017, Egypt decided to take additional steps to improve the quality of fruits and vegetables and rid them of pesticide residues and diseases.

The Export Council of Agricultural Crops and the Ministry of Agriculture announced a regulation for orange farms, which would have to comply with a new food safety regime by registering and coding export-oriented farms.

Hind Al Baroun, Export Manager of the Baroun Agricultural Investment Company, said that the coding system is contributing to facilitate the supply of a good volume of quality fruit, with a better control of farming methods and a more efficient management of pesticide use.

The idea is to prevent the export of poor quality products, which make the products less competitive and limits the ability to open new markets.

Last year, the Export Council of Agricultural Crops already started registering the farms producing grapes, strawberries and peppers to improve the management of pesticide use, while citrus farms had not yet entered the system.

The move came in response to the recent ban on Egyptian products by some importing countries due to pesticide residues, mainly Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Sudan.


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