COAG asks Brussels for stricter border controls

Spain on alert due to growing import of pests from third countries

The Coordinator of Organizations of Agricultural Producers and Cattle Ranchers (COAG) has taken advantage of its participation in the Tomato Experts Group of the EU, held in Brussels, to warn about the unstoppable increase in the "import of pests from third countries" and the deficient control of imported products at the border. The head for fruit and vegetables at COAG, Andrés Góngora, said that "it is vital for comprehensive border controls to be carried out on imported fruits, vegetables and plant materials, as well as for the same production standards to be required from all agricultural products entering the territory."

To illustrate this, the representative of COAG mentioned the case of the Tuta absoluta in tomato crops, introduced in EU territory due to the entry of infected plant material from South America in the 2006-2007 campaign, and which is still causing havoc in the greenhouse production area of the Spanish southeast. "On average, fighting this pest entails a cost of more than 2,000 Euro per campaign per producer. As in many other cases of imported pests, chemical treatments are not effective, as there are no active materials on the market able to stop them," said Góngora.

Since the 90's, the entry of viruses from third countries has recorded an unstoppable growth. The spotted virus (TSWV) put pepper producers against the ropes in the early 90's. In 2000, the Cucumber Vein Yellowing Virus (CVYV) forced growers to implement drastic changes in cultivation methods and in the chemical control of pests. More recently, the New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV), the aforementioned Tuta absoluta, or the virulent impact of Xyllella fastidiosa in olives and other woody crops have been a new source of concern, losses and cost increases for producers in southern Europe.



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