For the first time, the phytosanitary inspections carried out at the border of the European Commission have detected the presence of the fungus Guirnardia citricarpa CBS - better known as Black Spot - in seven shipments of citrus fruits imported into the EU from Tunisia. This points to the pest having reached the Mediterranean, as reported by the agricultural producers' association Asaja.
Black Spot is a fungus that inflicts great damage to citrus crops, causing the skin to appear mottled and making the fruit unusable for fresh marketing. The presence of this fungus in the Mediterranean represents a big threat to the citrus sector
According to Asaja, the EC has intercepted 2 shipments infected with CBS in March and five in April, all of them from Tunisia.
For the president of Asaja in the Region of Valencia (Ava-Asaja), the main citrus producing area in Spain, the fact that Tunisia is very close geographically to Egypt, one of the countries that has been increasing its citrus exports to Europe in recent times, entails a threat of infection for European citrus producing countries such as Spain. "New pests are appearing in our country every day due to the laxity of the phytosanitary protection policies applied by the European Commission," says Cristóbal Aguado.
"The detection of Black Spot in Tunisia refutes the arguments put forward by South Africa to Brussels, when it claimed that its citrus shipments with CBS didn't entail any threat, since the fungus in question could not adapt to the Mediterranean areas," he says.