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Sicilian citrus fruit to be exported by air

The technical delegation from the People's Republic of China visited Sicily to complete the phytosanitary protocol for the export of citrus fruit and kiwis.

We talked to Rosario D'Anna, Head of the Department of Agriculture at Regione Sicilia, to learn more about the visit.

"If things go well, we will add the possibility to perform cold treatments to the protocol, which are compulsory to be able to export to China."

Rosario D'Anna

How to reach Cina
This way, it will also be possible to export Sicilian citrus fruit by air and not only in refrigerated containers transported by sea or train. Moving goods by train seems a rather interesting solution when it comes to China, as shipments take less time than those by sea and are less expensive than those by air.

"We managed to invite the delegation, an essential step to obtain the approval for this addition to the protocol, thanks to the involvement of the Central Phytosanitary Service at the Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy as well as of the Regional Phytosanitary Service part of the Department of Agriculture with the help of Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli di Ferrara".

The visit
"The delegation visited 5 companies who are part of the export programme that made their organisational and technical structures available for inspection. During this phase, checks mainly aim at verifying the functionality of the equipment for cold treatment, essential to eliminate possible traces of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata)." 

The visit was conducted at two sample companies in the Catania province. Traceability procedures, residue checks and equipment were all assessed. In particular, inspectors from the Regional Phytosanitary Service (SFR) illustrated to their Chinese colleagues the application of the methods envisaged by the protocol to test company equipment."

Technical visit to a citrus fruit grove in Sicily

The inspections
"Production companies who are part of the programme were also inspected. Chinese technicians verified whether the SFR had successfully monitored the parasites in the groves authorised for exportation. Technicians also had the chance to verify that the monitoring methods to check the presence of parasites to be quarantined in China were conducted according to phytosanitary agreements. The technical visit will end over the next few days at the Central Phytosanitary Service."

The Phytosanitary Service
Once again, the Regional Phytosanitary Services has put its skills at the service of the citrus fruit sector. Negotiations have been going on for years in order to meet the strict Chinese regulations.

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