RSA citrus export stop to Spain

Following the letter sent to inspectors and inspection services by Spanish authorities, claiming that South African citrus posed a greater threat for the spread of CBS than that from other third countries, and that it would be thus subject to stricter inspections, the Citrus Growers Association of South Africa (CGA) recommended a halt of citrus exports to this destination.

Deon Joubert, of CGA, says: “With only 3.4% of our volume going to Spanish ports, Spain accounted for 36% of our interceptions, so the risk for the other 96% of the fruit going to Europe was much too high. South Africa is only asking to be treated the same as anybody else; for fruit to be inspected for CBS as in other countries, following the same standard protocols.”

He assures that South Africa, the world’s second largest citrus exporter, with Europe receiving most of its shipments, has a very expensive and comprehensive Risk Management System, “which costs us over a billion a year. We spray, we inspect, we do ethephon testings on orchards, we take orchards out and conduct packing house inspections, and we even sample and check before shipment.”

In other EU countries importing South African citrus, including the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Portugal, the situation will remain unchanged. “The difference here is that in Germany or the Netherlands we have excellent access to all test results; we are shown the facilities and how work was done, but we were denied access in Spain. Without good feedback, it is very difficult to address any issues and improve,” states Deon.

Nevertheless, he affirms that, in the long term, South Africa would like to resume its normal supply to Spain, “and we’ve held talks with other countries to improve ourselves and be able to play within the European arena. I think we’ve got great fruit, and that we complement the Spanish produce. It is an opportunity for the shelves in Spain to be continuously filled with great quality fruit,” concludes Deon Joubert.

For more information:
Deon Joubert
Tel: +27 21 976 58 60

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