"Cristóbal Aguado: "It is a cosmetic operation and the EC is an accomplice"

South Africa and Argentina suspend part of citrus shipments to the EU

The South African citrus sector has informed the European Commission that it will voluntarily suspend part of their citrus exports to Europe as of September 22 due to the risk of spreading the Black Spot disease to the European producing countries. The African country will stop shipping Valencia Late oranges from the producing areas contaminated by this disease, but will continue exporting other citrus fruits, such as late Orri, Tango and Nadorcott mandarins, lemons and grapefruits.

For its part, the Argentinian government has issued a statement through the Health and Agroalimentary Quality Service (Senasa) reporting that it will interrupt the inspection of lemons intended for the EU and thus stop the export of these citrus fruits. This decision comes after three new cases of Black Spot were detected in the country's shipments, which brings the total number of detections so far this campaign to seven. However, just like South Africa, it will continue to export other citrus fruits, such as oranges and mandarins.

In Spain, the Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers has denounced that with these decisions, both countries are trying to save face before the authorities of the European Union and demonstrate an alleged interest in improving the plant health of their shipments.

"Paradoxically, neither of these two countries has announced any plans to suspend the shipment of late mandarins to Europe, when these citrus varieties are also susceptible to attack by Black Spot." It is worth noting that the mandarin export campaigns in South Africa and Argentina are now reaching their peak, while their Valencia Late and lemon seasons are already entering the declining stages," says Cristóbal Aguado, president of AVA-ASAJA. "This decision to temporarily suspend only the shipments that are most convenient to them and maintain, at the same time, the export of the varieties that suit them is a gross cosmetic operation," he said.

Cristóbal Aguado believes that it is "embarrassing how the European leaders in phytosanitary protection are satisfied with this and are keeping their arms crossed, while the European ports remain an open gate for new pests and diseases. The European Commission is acting as an accomplice."

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